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Oconee County crafts economic development plan

By Liz Segrist
Published July 10, 2012

New Hampshire-based RKG Associates was selected to create a strategic economic development plan for Oconee County.

The Oconee County Economic Development Commission is creating a five-year comprehensive economic development strategy to recruit industry and businesses to the county. The strategic plan includes a document that will be used as a road map.

The last plan was completed in 2007. The planning process will begin later this month and run through November.

The commission expects recruitment efforts to mirror those of the region, such as automotive and aerospace, but hopes the consultants will narrow down a niche for the county.

“While we may not be able to get an OEM like BMW, maybe this will narrow down a type of automotive supplier we need to recruit or a niche industry for us based on who we are, our location and our workforce,” said Richard Blackwell, the commission’s executive director.

Following a lengthy request for proposal process, RKG was chosen out of 15 companies.

The consultation costs the economic development commission around $49,000, half of which is being paid with a grant through the S.C. Power Team, the economic development alliance of the electric utility Santee Cooper and the state’s 20 electric cooperatives.

The five-year economic development strategy will include an assessment of current and past economic development plans; regional and county economic trends; and the county’s comparative advantages and disadvantages. It will also involve creating and implementing both short- and long-term initiatives.

The plan aims to create jobs and foster a more sustainable and diversified economy. It also hopes to coordinate efforts between individuals, organizations, the private sector and local government.

Founded in 1981, RKG Associates Inc. provides private, public and institutional clients nationwide with advisory, planning and strategic consulting services related to real estate, land use and economic development.

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