Fort Mill Times

Fort Mill's growth focus of annual breakfast

This once sleepy mill town remains one of the fastest growing in the state.

That was a big part of the message at Thursday morning's York County Regional Chamber of Commerce State of the Community breakfast.

Driven in large part by the reputation of the Fort Mill School District, which has seen more than 10 percent growth in each of the last several years - the highest percentage growth of any school district statewide - the Town of Fort Mill continues to see more residents moving in, according to Mayor Danny Funderburk. During his first term, Funderburk has made an effort to get a mix of longtime residents and newcomers to serve on newly formed citizens committees and boards.

"In the first seven months of 2008 we established seven volunteer boards and commissions to put the talents and skills of our people to work for our community," he said during the York County Regional Chamber of Commerce sponsored State of the Community Breakfast Thursday.

Also, the Mayor said he wants to upgrade the town's multimedia presence.

"We are evaluating and plan to upgrade the town's public access [cable TV] Channel 19 with the goal to maximize the potential of the resource, to allow televising of council meetings," Funderburk said.

Programming related to the Fort Mill School District could also be included on the channel, Funderburk said.

Another technological upgrade on Funderburk's list is the town's Web site,

"We need to get a consultant to come in and look at the Web site," he said. "There's a lot more potential in that area that we're not realizing or utilizing."

Funderburk also said the town needs to take a comprehensive look at traffic congestion around town and come up with solutions for the trouble spots.

Fort Mill School District Superintendent Dr. Keith Callicutt also spoke at the meeting, highlighting several accomplishments of the district's students and faculty from the 2007-'08 school year. He also spoke about the challenges facing the district, including a growing student population and diminishing funding coming from the state.

One bright spot for the district, however, is that half of the number of new schools identified in its 10-year facility needs study have already been built or are under construction, Callicutt said.

"This past year we opened Nation Ford High School, construction has already begun on two new elementary schools, we have purchased three school sites, we have commitments on donations of two other sites, and we're in negotiations for two more school sites," he said.

York County Council Chairman Buddy Motz, who also spoke during the event, highlighted the county's effort to increase the commercial tax base throughout the county, which has shrunk from providing 61 percent of the county's tax revenue in 2000 to providing 52 percent of the tax revenue by 2006. One positive step in that direction last year was the announcement of Freightliner deciding to build a new facility in the county, he said.