Monday, September 26, 2016

Green Infrastructure Stakeholder Session

The Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments has received a Green Infrastructure Grant to help communities in the Santee-Lynches region better assess, manage, protect, or restore their natural assets to create healthy ecosystems, communities, and economies. On September 14th, 2016, the Economic and Community Sustainability Department hosted a meeting to engage stakeholders and identify a plan for the process. Attendees collaborated and brainstormed different strategies and techniques to maintain and enhance the natural assets of the region. By bringing together individuals from different disciplines, participants were able to come up with a diverse array of ideas that could be used and implemented by cities, conservation organizations, local partners and individuals. These ideas are providing the basis for the objectives to be outlined in the final Green Infrastructure plan.

To learn more about Green Infrastructure or participate in future planning efforts, contact Kyle Kelly at 803-774-1377.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Staff Spotlight

Your name: Lewan Brunson

Tell us a little bit about your personal life. I am the middle child of two sisters. I was born and raised in Sumter, SC. In 2008 I decided to attend Winthrop University where I received my bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2012. During my time there at Winthrop University I joined Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc. and was a campus leader in various roles. I interned for a few campaigns and then decided that I wanted to work in non-profit instead. Shortly after figuring out that working with non-profits was my calling I decided to move back to Sumter, SC where I was lucky enough to intern and then be hired on with Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments.

When did you start working at the COG? July 16th 2014

What is your current position? Assessor for the Health and Human Services Department

Sum up your job in one sentence. I screen our senior citizen population for available services.

What is the project, program, activity, event that you are most proud of? The project I am most proud of is start up weekend. Just like we were able to help others due that weekend with their business idea, we were able to take an idea and make it real. I watched as our team helped put on a successful event despite the ups and downs. I think that’s what the experience even better because we weren’t sure if it was going to work out for us, but we kept persevering and I will always remember that.

What COG related project, program, activity, event are you most looking forward to? Expanding the assessment process and using the data that we collect with our assessment to team up with other departments at the COG. We have the ability to collect vital information that can predict where services are needed and if they are not current when they will be needed.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Neighborhood Initiative Program

The Santee-Lynches Council of Governments has partnered with the City of Sumter, the City of Camden and Kershaw County on the Neighborhood Initiative Program (NIP).The goal of NIP is to stabilize property values through the removal of blighted properties in strategically targeted areas, in an effort to prevent future foreclosures for existing property owners. NIP assists communities by stemming the decline of home values and acting as a catalyst to initiate redevelopment and revitalization in areas suffering from blight and decline. Demolition of blighted properties will have a positive effect on preserving existing neighborhoods. The photos below show just a few of the many properties that have been demolished as a result of this program. To find out more about NIP or to help identify potential properties for demolition, contact Stacy Newman at 803-774-1987.

Kershaw County Job Fair Press Release

Friday, September 9, 2016

Staff Spotlight

Your name: Kyle Kelly

Tell us a little bit about your personal life. I’m a 2006 Clemson University graduate, and I enjoy traveling around the state and southeast visiting friends and family, particularly at Clemson sporting events. In my spare time I like to read, hike, kayak, and lounge in my hammock.

When did you start working at the COG? February 2014

What is your current position? Economic and Community Sustainability (ECS) Director

Sum up your job in one sentence. I oversee the department that provides regional planning assistance and implementation of project-based solutions to regional and local challenges.

Have you held any other positions within the COG? No

What is the project, program, activity, event that you are most proud of? To date, the project I’m most proud of is VisionKershaw 2030. From July 2015 to March 2016, my team and I conducted a large amount of outreach to county residents, and developed a comprehensive vision for the entire county based on citizen input and stakeholder feedback. The final product represents something that leaders across the county can use as they plan their budgets, future initiatives, and serve the residents of the community.

What COG related project, program, activity, event are you most looking forward to? Right now, I’m looking forward to completing a regional “Green Infrastructure” Plan for Santee-Lynches. We’ve received funding from the South Carolina Forestry Commission to develop a series of asset maps and come up with policy recommendations for our local governments to consider. As a nation, and as a region, we’ve spent much time and energy on our built environment (i.e. roads and buildings), but while we recognize the importance of water quality and the environment, there hasn’t been significant effort to connect that to economic development and quantify what the unbuilt environment can mean to us in recruiting people and jobs to the area.

Kershaw County Job Fair

SC Works, the Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments and our community partners would like to invite you to join us for the Kershaw County Job Fair on October 12th, 2016. Veterans will be admitted at 9:00am and the fair will open to the public at 9:30am. Be sure to bring your resume and dress to impress! For more information, contact Steve Berger at 803-774-1306.