Laurens County was recently selected by the Community Planning Assistance Team (CPAT) program for its annual project. The CPAT is a premier community outreach initiative of the South Carolina chapter of the American Planning Association (SCAPA), which is the professional association for practicing planners in our state. The CPAT provides a multidisciplinary team of planning professionals from across South Carolina who volunteer to assist communities with limited access to planning resources and expertise. Teams work with community leaders, elected officials, stakeholders, and volunteers to address local issues or concerns. These pro bono projects develop a planning approach to foster economically vibrant, resilient, and livable communities.
In April, the Laurens County Development Corporation (LCDC) applied for the project through the Livability team, one of six volunteer groups of committed community members and leaders carrying out the LCDC’s county-wide strategic plan implementation. The overall mission of the Livability implementation team is developing priorities for increasing quality of life throughout Laurens County, raising awareness for these priorities, and placemaking investments and leading efforts to fund them.
The application, titled “Laurens County Community Asset Identification: Building Cohesion Through Shared Community Resources,” was a proposal requesting the CPAT to work with Laurens County stakeholders to identify community assets and determine the most appropriate ways to promote these assets to residents, visitors, and potential economic development investors.
Working in collaboration with LCDC and its Livability team, the CPAT will visit Laurens County, meet with the team, and then focus on developing a strategy for promoting the many social, cultural, recreational, and economic assets that the community has to offer. This work will build on the ongoing strategic planning efforts of the LCDC.
“We are so honored to be selected by CPAT this year and are grateful for their expertise in helping us showcase our county’s assets,” says Whitney Lagrange, LCDC Director of Marketing. “Quality of life has quickly become a priority in the world of economic development and site selection over the past couple of years, and this will continue to strengthen Laurens County’s competitiveness.”
Jeff Parkey, chair of the Community Planning Assistance Team, said: “The team is excited to be working in Laurens County this summer. By showcasing the County’s many assets and amenities and quality of life through this project, we believe new opportunities for development and growth that benefit the entire community can emerge. We look forward to learning more about Laurens County.”
To learn more about the LCDC’s strategic planning and to see a list of implementation teams and members, visit www.growlaurenscounty.com/about-us/strategic-plan. For more information on SCAPA and CPAT, and the application and selection process, visit www.scapa.org/cpat.