‘The hottest economy in S.C.’: Bringing Back the Burg task force hosts final meeting, exceeds 2019 metrics

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SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – After months of strategizing, implementing and seeing the results of several initiatives — the ‘Bringing Back the ‘Burg Task Force announced they’ve completed their mission. 

On Thursday morning the task force held their last meeting, which was spent recounting their successes and plans for the future.

“As of June 2021, the ‘Burg is Back, and it’s better than ever. With a recent uptick in tourism revenue, Spartanburg crossed the finish line to economic recovery, as outlined by the benchmark data points determined by the Bringing Back the Burg Business Recovery Task Force.”

One Spartanburg Inc.

Over the past year the task force has launched several initiatives such as The Blue Duck Art Tour and the ‘Remember Your Favorites’ restaurant pass. 

During the pandemic, key meetings were streamed online to help businesses could have inside knowledge.

Task force members launched the Mask Challenge, a public art campaign to raise awareness of the importance of wearing a mask, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Leaders expanded COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts for businesses and their employees, and launched a small business fund provide loans to keep business afloat during the pandemic,

One Spartanburg Inc. launched Bringing Back the Burg with the goal of helping the county’s economy rebound from the economic destruction caused by the pandemic. The goal: to increase metrics to 80% of what they were in 2019.

The task force was able to meet 18 out of 19 benchmarks. Some metrics exceeded 2019 numbers. Here’s a break down of what they accomplished:

  • Exceed their 80% goal by collecting 122% of  2019’s capital sales tax. This shows that people are supporting local retail establishments in Spartanburg.
  • 83% of 2019 pedestrian visitors in downtown Spartanburg (Morgan Square)
  • 97% of 2019 granted Spartanburg County building permits
  • 1.1 billion in investments
  • 112% of 2019 hospitality tax collections. This shows that people are supporting local restaurants.
  • 83% of revenue per hotel room 
  • Unemployment dropped from 15% to 3.7% by May 2021

The one metric that the task force didn’t meet was the passenger count at GSP International Airport from 2019. Leaders were able to meet 51% of 2019’s passenger count — but they said the cargo count is the 20th highest in the nation. 

The task force said the successes from ‘Brining Back the Burg” will reflect in the county’s performance for years to come.

“This is the hottest economy in South Carolina. While we celebrate 1.1 billion, 3,100 new jobs and the act of surpassing what our goals were— in so many respects we’re just getting started,” Allen Smith, task force member for ‘Bringing Back the Burg’, said. 

Leaders are now planning a 2022-2026 economic development strategy to continue their successes into the future.

Click here to view the full report.

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