In my campaign launch speech, I shared a vision for Simpsonville–a vision that includes making economic development a top priority and committing to community and cultural programs and services.
On community and cultural programs and services, I called for a comprehensive plan that does 3 things:
- provides access to the arts for all citizens;
- supports programs that educate, inform, and inspire through a variety of cultural activities;
- and contributes to the overall economic development of our city.
Let me share with you a story that illustrates one reason why this is important: Not long ago, I posted on Facebook about an upcoming event sponsored by the Simpsonville Revolutionary War Museum. Immediately two non-Simpsonville residents responded: “There’s a history museum in Simpsonville? I had no idea! I’m going to have to come down there and check it out!” Community and cultural programs and services draw visitors to a city. Once here, those visitors check out the rest of the city. Imagine if there were enough community & cultural programs that people could spend a full day in Simpsonville–visiting the museum, learning about our local history, taking in a show (maybe a play performed on the stage of the old Simpsonville Elementary School). Imagine they spend the day shopping, eating. Imagine the revenue that could generate for the city, the positive impact it could have on our small, local businesses.
When we head out to Greenville, Mauldin, or Fountain Inn to take part in community or cultural programs and services, we’re giving them our tax dollars, we’re supporting their local economies. Why wouldn’t we want to support our own? And why wouldn’t we want to not just keep our dollars here but also draw in visitors who would spend their money here? Visitors who would tell their friends: “Simpsonville is a great place to spend a day…or a weekend. You really need to check out what Simpsonville has to offer.”
Again I say, community development is economic development. A commitment to cultural programs and services contributes to the overall economic development of a city. It’s time to focus on that.