Dorchester County leaders working to address growth

DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Leaders in Dorchester County are working to address how the county can grow in the most efficient way.

The county held its strategic planning retreat at EMS headquarters on Thursday where they discussed a variety of areas the county needs to address when it comes to future growth.

Jason Ward, who serves as the county’s administrator, started the meeting by looking at how Dorchester County has been doing since the 2019 meeting. He said they have new needs that should be addressed across the board.

“We can talk about the Consolidated Dispatch Center, emergency medical services, fire and rescue, the sheriff’s office, and then the corner, and how those departments work together and how they can be better,” Ward explained.

Even things like getting road improvements done. If traffic is backed up, that can slow EMS or other responses during emergencies. Their plan looks at where future growth should happen.

“It designates areas where you have the infrastructure to support growth and you have the people to support growth. And if you can do that, it’s about what you should do versus what you can do. You know you may be able to build houses someplace but those may not be places that you have the infrastructure and the people to support.”

Ward believes getting infrastructure right can lead to jobs for people being trained at places like the Trident Technical College campus on Dorchester Road. But he said it can also just mean the county will have fewer problems with a lack of infrastructure in the future if roads and emergency services are upgraded today.

“We’ve got Dorchester Fire Rescue station number 17 and a partnership with Miles Road, partner with the Town of Summerville Fire station warehouse, EMS; We’re building a new station as our population is grown and have a secondary unit off Ladson Road. So, all of those are related to public safety that we’re doing.”

Dorchester County Council could have their vote on the safety portion of the strategic plan as soon as April.