Better South part of winning Zone team

Run-down motel, Allendale, S.C.  Photo by Michael Kaynard.

Run-down motel, Allendale, S.C. Photo by Michael Kaynard.

[UPDATED, May 1, 2015] | The Center for a Better South is an integral part of the team that put together the successful application for rural counties in the southern part of South Carolina to win a federal Promise Zone designation this week.

“Without the visionary leadership and guidance of the Center for a Better South, the counties in the SouthernCarolina Alliance never would have applied for a federal Promise Zone designation, much less been able to put together the winning application that will change the lives of tens of thousands of people in the southern part of South Carolina,” said Danny Black, president and CEO of the Alliance, an economic development agency that will lead work in the Zone counties.  “We look forward to continuing to work with the Center to grow jobs, reduce poverty and make our communities better.”

Better South President Andy Brack, who worked with the Alliance as part of a leadership team to bring together more than 20 organizations to partner on an application for the federal designation, said the Zone designation would make a big difference.

“This is going to change people’s lives,” he said.  By being part of a new Promise Zone designations, just over 90,000 people in Allendale, Barnwell, Bamberg, Colleton, Hampton and Jasper counties will have new tools to be able to tap into existing federal grant dollars and other opportunities.

“It’s a big deal,” Brack said.  “South Carolina is only the nation’s second rural Promise Zone and the only one announced today.  If the same kinds of things happen here that have happened in the other rural Zone in eastern Kentucky, we should be looking at an infusion of millions of dollars over time to grow jobs, improve the economy, have better schools, get more affordable housing and reduce crime.”