BCD Council of GovernmentsJune 2012
The BCDCOG in brief
Welcome to the BCD Council of Governments digital newsletter. This newsletter is published once a month to bring you highlights of projects and activities being undertaken at the agency. Should you have any questions or would like to request additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Update Underway

The CEDS is a regional strategy which reflects local economic development needs and priorities, and recommends a regional approach to achieving sustainable economic development. Organizations such as the BCD Council of Governments are required to have a CEDS in order to: qualify for assistance through the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) in the form of public works and economic adjustment grants; qualify to be designated by the EDA as an Economic Development District (EDD) thus opening the door for us to apply for EDA grants; and/or be used as a regional strategy to coordinate economic development efforts.


The CEDS is an update to the last plan done five (5) years ago with new demographic data. In the update we will establish and reestablish broad based goals and objectives while maintaining the same cluster areas including the newest cluster  - Wind Energy. The four target clusters are Advanced Security and Information Technology (IT), Aerospace, Biomedical, and Wind Energy. These four clusters will work in conjunction with and are complimented by, the following five competencies vital to the overall economic growth: Advanced Materials, Creative Design, Drivetrain and Power Systems, Logistics, and Software.


The Trident Workforce Investment Board (TWIB) has agreed to serve as the CEDS Committee, which must represent the main economic interests of the region. The TWIB was chosen given the composition of the TWIB coordinates with the requirements established by the EDA for membership and because they recently completed their five year strategic plan.  


The CEDS will incorporate the TWIB Five Year Strategic Plan, the Charleston Regional Development Alliance's comprehensive economic development initiative "Opportunity Next", initiatives and plans from the tri-county Economic Development Departments, and in house staff knowledge gained from working with the many incorporated areas throughout the tri-county.   A final copy of the CEDS will be available in early August followed by a 30-day public comment period. The CEDS will be submitted to the EDA in September 2012.


Our Region Our Plan Taking Shape



The BCDCOG's Regional Planning initiative, OurRegion OurPlan, is quickly coming together as a shared regional vision for quality of life and long range growth in the tri-county area.


The BCDCOG's Regional Plan Planning and Technical Committees were presented with a draft of an evolving regional plan document during a joint meeting June 28th. The planning team, led by HNTB, oroppresented an overview of the draft document that will accompany the preferred scenario for growth in the region that has evolved through months of Committee and public meetings. The Plan will include six elements:

  • Growth, Development and Placemaking
  • Natural Environment
  • Mobility and Transportation Infrastructure
  • Economy
  • Implementation
  • Regional Leadership and Stewardship

The June 28th meeting focused on a discussion of key goals, objectives, policies and potential implementation strategies outlined for the first five elements. Committees then discussed the sixth element and some possible ideas for stewardship in accomplishing the regional vision. Members of both committees have been asked to review and provide comments on the draft document in the next couple of weeks. The planning team anticipates finalizing the document by the end of the August for release in mid-September.


Please visit the project website at www.OurRegionOurPlan.org or contact Kathryn Basha at kathrynb@bcdcog.com.

Partnership for Prosperity


Neck LogoThe Partnership for Prosperity's goal is to provide a roadmap or guide for the Cities of Charleston and North Charleston to plan future development and redevelopment in the "Neck area". As reported last month, the Partnership for Prosperity's draft Master Plan is under refinement and the consultant team is preparing a draft document which will include estimates of program and captial project costs. A steering committee meeting is scheduled for July 25th. 


Public input is always welcomed on this Master Plan for the Neck area. Interested persons are invited to visit the project website at www.neckprosperity.org and complete a short survey on project priorities, view the open house presentation and presentation, and find additional project information. If you have any questions, please contact Kathryn Basha at kathrynb@bcdcog.com.

Human Service Transportation Coordination Workshop Held

The BCDCOG Mobility Management Program hosted a Human Service Transportation Coordination Workshop in June to identify ways to plan and implement effective mobility management transportation strategies to offer choices and services for improved coordination and access to employment, health care and other activities of daily living for the citizens in the area.  The one-day workshop was led by Joann Hutchison, the State and Region United We Ride Ambassador with the National Resource Center for Human Service Transportation Coordination (NRC). Ms. Hutchinson provided a report about the United We Ride organization and the technical assistance services available for coordination and mobility management activities for the State and this area. She also reported on national trends facing the country leading to reasons why forums such as this one should continue to be held in order to address the continuing growth of transportation needs, especially for veterans, elderly, disabled and others who face mobility barriers.


Participants included the Lt. Gov's Office on Aging, SCDOT, Logisticare, CARTA, TriCounty Link, AARP, Goodwill Industries, DSS, East Cooper Community Outreach, American Red Cross, Lowcountry Senior Center, Charleston County Human Service Commission, CCSD, JCC, Trident Area Agency on Aging, VA Hospital, MUSC and Dorchester Seniors. Workshop participants divided into groups and identified successes and recommendations in four areas: Making Things Happen by Working Together, Taking Stock of Community Needs, Putting Customers First and Adapting Funding for Greater Mobility, and Moving People Efficiently. These strategies will be developed by the committee into a draft action plan with implementation strategies and timeline. For more information, please contact BCDCOG Mobility Manager Vonie Gilreath at vonieg@bcdcog.com.


Town of Moncks Corner Village Renaissance Grant

Since receiving funding under the SCDOC Village Renaissance Program in early 2012, the Town of Moncks Corner continues to move forward  to develop a Neighborhood Revitalization Plan for the Wall Street Neighborhood. A Public Meeting was held on April 4th to gather information from residents of the Wall Street Neighborhood, in addition to a number of households returning a Community Needs Survey. The neighborhood meeting was held in conjunction with the Moncks Corner Planning Commission, which assisted COG staff with conducting the meeting.


The meeting was widely attended by residents and stakeholders of the Wall Street Neighborhood, and both of which identified a comprehensive assortment of needs and issues in their neighborhood that will be incorporated into the Neighborhood Revitalization Plan. In addition, 8 engineering firms submitted Statement of Qualifications in response to the ad soliciting Request for Proposals for the Preliminary Engineering Report, all of which are being reviewed as part of the selection process. The Preliminary Engineering Report is an important part of the Neighborhood Revitalization Plan as it will be used as a guide in the subsequent implementation phase. Project Staff continues to work on evaluating existing conditions of the neighborhood's demographics and infrastructure, as well as meeting with stakeholders. Another public meeting is planned for late July, and the Plan will be submitted to the SCDOC by October of this year.

In This Issue
CEDS Update Underway
Our Region Our Plan Update
Partnership for Prosperity
Town of Moncks Corner Village Renaissance Grant
Quick Links
 Costs and Benefits of Vanpooling


The BCDCOG is interested in hearing from area employers looking at the costs and benefits of vanpooling programs for their employees.

A commuter vanpool is defined as a group of seven to fifteen people who ride to and from work each day in a comfortable passenger van. Vanpools can benefit both the companies and the employees.


Van pool drivers are rewarded by usually riding free, receiving personal use of the van, and sustaining less wear on personal automobiles. Riders are rewarded by saving money on gas costs, being able to read the paper, sleep, or socialize with during the daily commute, potentially reducing personal auto insurance premiums and sustaining less wear on personal automobiles.


Companies benefit from vanpooling because employees are willing to work farther from home if they know they do not have to drive every day and peer pressure also keeps tardy people from holding up the vanpool. Employers who sponsor commuter vanpool programs can also recapture some of their costs by claiming a tax credit for purchasing or leasing vanpool vehicles. 


The costs of vanpooling can vary depending on the type of vanpooling program used (company or employee operated), whether an organization buys or leases van, and the size of the fleet vehicles. Companies in the tri-county area interested in hearing more about vanpooling, including how to partner with other organizations, should contact the BCDCOG Mobility Manager Vonie Gilreath at vonieg@bcdcog.com or by phone at 529-0400 ext. 202.

BCDCOG Revolving Loan Fund Assists Local Businesses


The BCDCOG's  Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) program recently assisted a local company with $250,000 for working capital, machinery and equipment and renovations.  Ultimate Source of Boating Excursions (USOBE, LLC) operates a unique program, Resort Boating, targeted to luxury resorts. What started as a saltwater charter fishing company specializing in customized service has grown into a national network of over 400 captains located in 32 states. With the addition of boating excursions, luxury resorts can now offer that same tranquil experience to their guests on the beautiful waterways surrounding waterfront resort areas.   


 Through USOBE, LLC's Resort Boating program, excursions are guided by captains certified through Clemson or the University of Georgia on ecology and local history. Typical excursions include bird watching, nature trips focused on dolphin watching or nature photography. With local history tours, captains reveal the incredible stories that of how the local areas were developed and the economic stimulants that keep the area thriving. 


We currently have funds to loan. The RLF's primary goal is job creation and retention. It is designed to assist businesses whose projects will improve the tri-county economy. Eligible uses for loans include the purchase of equipment and land, and the improvement of real estate and building facilities. Contact us today for more information.