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City commits $1 million to Partnership For Tomorrow, economic development

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Friday, February 6, 2015

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The City of Greer committed $1 million to the Partnership For Tomorrow for its 5-year master plan and economic development. Left to right: Larry Wilson, Mark Owens, Reno Deaton, Rick Danner and Ed Driggers.
 

Julie McCombs

The City of Greer committed $1 million to the Partnership For Tomorrow for its 5-year master plan and economic development. Left to right: Larry Wilson, Mark Owens, Reno Deaton, Rick Danner and Ed Driggers.

 



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Mayor Rick Danner addressed the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce First Friday Luncheon that led to the City of Greer's presentation of a $1 million commitment to the Partnership For Tomorrow.
 

Julie McCombs

Mayor Rick Danner addressed the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce First Friday Luncheon that led to the City of Greer's presentation of a $1 million commitment to the Partnership For Tomorrow.

 

The City of Greer has committed $1 million to the Partnership For Tomorrow for its 5-year master plan and economic development.

Mayor Rick Danner and City Administrator Ed Driggers made the historic and surprising announcement at a packed Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce First Friday Luncheon at the City Hall events venue. Danner’s address on the value of collaboration and why partnerships work set up the huge economic announcement.

“It’s about value and is there value to supporting economic development? Over the next five years we will spend a million dollars, but what is the return on that investment? We think it’s far greater than a million dollars, otherwise we wouldn’t do it,” Driggers said.

The city contributed $150,000 to the previous PFT’s cyclical fundraising that launched it over the $1.6 million goal. This commitment provides $200,000 annually.

The previous PFT master plan fundraising efforts have been successful raising, $2 million, $1.5 million and $1.6 million, respectively. The goal for the current plan is $1.2 million.

Driggers said the city annually commits 7.25 percent of its business license collection as a reinvestment for economic development. “We take the previous year and following year and fold that into the Greer Development Corporation,” Driggers said. “Taking that commitment that we made to economic development, it demonstrates that it is a collaborative community partnership between the city, GDC (Greer Development Corporation) and the PFT group.”

Driggers, at a December council meeting, illustrated the financial health of the city when he announced that, for the first time in memory, the cash reserves were strong enough to eliminate an annual tax note.

Larry Wilson, the chairman of the board of trustees for PFT, said the investment, “Takes us into another realm. It’s overwhelming. It means so much for the city that over the next five years the partnership will help support quality of life, economic development and all the things we do for the PFT. We will be able to continue to support and do the things that we have outlined in the next five years for the partnership.”

Wilson said the community master plan, to be presented in April, will give direction for the next 15 years.

Reno Deaton, executive director of the GDC, has helped guide Greer economic development to historic commercial, residential and manufacturing growth.

“The ($1 million) dramatically affects our ability to reach prospects and leads out in the world,” Deaton said. “It gives us an opportunity to market in a way we haven’t been able to in years past. We still have to make sure there is a very definite (return on investment).”

Deaton has seen the emergence in Greer of the $50 million Inland Port, BMW invest nearly $2 billion in expansion the past decade, almost $1 billion in retail sales last year, $121 million Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport renovation, a half-million-square-foot industrial (Liberty Square) park and a residential boom that is resulting in grocery/retail/restaurant growth throughout Greer.

“I think it is tremendous for the community in the way the city backs economic development, job creation, new capital investment and quality of life improvements,” Deaton said. “They don’t just talk the talk, they are very much walking the walk. They do so much in terms of policy and programs anyway, and to do this on top of that is just amazing. The city has been the leader into creating new job opportunities and attracting new capital investment and putting into place the infrastructure.”

It was Danner’s fire-and-brimstone address at the beginning of the fundraising drive last July that challenged the business community.

“I probably owe Reno (Deaton) and Larry (Smith) an apology. Because at the time they invited me to kick off the Partnership (fundraising) and I stepped right in the middle of it,” Danner said. “When they announced what their (PFT) goals were going to be, I said, you know, that’s not enough. We’re a better community than that. I challenged the community to step up to the plate and we’ve all done a good job.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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