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Edgefield County, next to Sweetwater, is “teed up” for economic development

Edgefield County, next to Sweetwater, is “teed up” for economic development

Although Exit 5 in North Augusta has had enormous expansion recently, growth has been relatively moderate north of Murphy Village. Although Edgefield County, which borders North Augusta, still has a more rural feel, this could soon change.

In contrast to Exit 5 in the Sweetwater corridor, where commercial zoning predominates, much of that county line zoning is residential.

The designated area in Edgefield County is only about 20%. The zones are concentrated near the Edgefield, Trenton, and Johnston population centres as well as along the entire southern side of the Aiken-Edgefield county boundary.

Will Williams, president and chief executive officer of Western SC, formerly the Economic Development Partnership, stated, “It’s teed up and ready to go.”

Williams claimed that between 2010 and 2020, Edgefield County actually lost around 1,300 persons, a statistic that has some in his field baffled.

People travelling north on Edgefield Road will be turning left into Sweetwater a little more frequently in the future, according to Williams, because Sweetwater and its arterials Murrah Road and Five Notch have experienced some “saturation” lately. According to rumors, North Augusta will eventually surpass all other municipalities in Edgefield County in size.

With 217 permits issued in 2020 and 194 in 2021, the county has experienced sustained house growth. In the first half of this year, the county issued 150 licences for residential construction.

Along Highway 25, the volume of traffic has also increased. The average daily trips made along the Highway 25 corridor between the county line and Mount Zion Road have increased by roughly 15% since 2011, according to data gathered by the South Carolina Department of Transportation.

Bettis Academy Road, which is a little further north, is the “line of demarcation” for most of the current development, according to Williams. In comparison to Exit 5, he continued, “retail growth is coming, but it’s going to be a little bit slower.”

Commercial growth frequently follows rooftops, consumer demand, and other industries. In Edgefield County, subdivisions are now being created, are being built, or, as in the case of Tavern Hill, are ready for the homeowner. Beyond Murphy Village, in unincorporated Edgefield County, is the Tavern Hill area.

The phrase “Cows and calves for sale” is posted on a sign just before the Tavern Hill turnoff onto Stevens Road. Long, dirt driveways leading through trees to what appears to be a house—though one that is hidden from view from the road—are present at a few of the neighbourhood residences. Despite surrounding growth, the county still retains a more rural character.

Tavern Hill is Stanley Martin’s second project in Edgefield County; a few miles to the north and off the same Sweetwater Road, the home builder also collaborated with a local developer to establish the Mount Vintage neighbourhood. Kiante Chapman, a marketing specialist at Stanley Martin’s Columbia office, said, “We’re still extending out, we’re still quite new to the area.”

Chapman expressed the company’s optimism that their solutions “will connect with the need there” and contribute to addressing the rising housing demand brought on, she added, by military families migrating to the CSRA and Fort Gordon. It might be “difficult to find a rural setting neighbourhood that still provides proximity to all the convenient shopping, restaurants, and schools,” according to Regina Wadsworth, director of sales at Stanley Martin. Just a few blocks away is Fox Creek High School. Merriwether Elementary and Middle Schools are also.

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  • Edgefield County, next to Sweetwater, is “teed up” for economic development
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