As residential growth continues in Tega Cay, a city advisory group is discussing a re-branding strategy to attract more commercial development.
More businesses are desirable for a number of reasons, officials have said during the city’s sustained growth period: A more robust commercial tax base means less of the burden falls on residential property owners; Commercial development doesn’t put further strain on the Fort Mill school district; businesses don’t require the same level of services the city provides residents; And, many residents prefer to shop and do business locally.
The Tega Cay Economic Development Commission, comprised of local business owners, bankers, residents and various city representatives, including City Manager Charlie Funderburk, met Tuesday night to discuss potential branding options for the city. Funderburk said the process begins with getting rid of misconceptions. He grew up in York County and always assumed Tega Cay, a once gated community before it became a city in 1982, was still private and exclusive – a perception he’d like to eliminate.
“You still have a lot of people who think that the golf course is private, that the (Philip T. Glennon Community Center) is private, that you have to be a member,” he said. “That’s part of the mentality we need to try to change as we go through this branding.”
Lacking the historical profile of nearby cities such as Rock Hill or Fort Mill, Tega Cay wants to forge its own identity in the face of exponential growth. Commission members hope to tie the branding into the city’s established logo – a tree and sailboat accompanying the slogan, “Bonae Vitae,” meaning “the good life.”
While Tega Cay’s golf course has long been a point of pride for residents and city leaders alike, the city is working to up its sports tourism game. The Game On project, expected to break ground soon near the Catawba River, will be multi-sport complex that will be marketed as a venue for large tournaments and events. The developer and city leaders envision something on the scale of Rock Hill’s Manchester Meadows and BMX track that draws thousands of people from around the world and drives a sports tourism industry that brings millions of dollars to the city and its businesses.
Commission Chairperson Jim Stalford said he’s convinced sports is the answer.
“If we can get Game On developed – that is the Tega Cay brand,” he said. “Now, you are a sports community.”
Game On also is a mixed-use development. To be built on 78 acres between Stonecrest Boulevard and Dam Road, it would include a residential community, shops, a multiplex theater, restaurants, a hotel and more.
Stalford said sports-based communities are popping up across the country.
“We have an opportunity to do that, but we need an anchor,” he said. “And that anchor’s going to be a big sports complex.”
Another idea that came up Tuesday for letting the world know that Tega Cay is rolling out the welcome mat, is coordinating with York County Regional Chamber to plan business and social networking events in the city. Commission members are also considering a shop-local annual event to promote the city’s brick-and-mortar businesses.
Though Funderburk said he is concerned the city lacks retail destinations, Stalford, who frets over what he sees as a lack of commercial space, said he is confident more retail is coming.
“You’re going to get more retail here because the demographics are changing,” he said.
“People aren’t driving anymore. If you’re a millennial, you want to walk, you want an apartment and you want to walk. Here, people are getting in their golf cart and they’re going to drive maybe two miles to get to where they’re going.”
Funderburk agreed and said a new strip mall center is planned for construction on Stonecrest Boulevard next to Walmart– an effect of recent residential development nearby.