Polk, towns say hotel would boost economy

Published 6:49 pm Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Polk County, Columbus, Saluda and Tryon officials say one of the area’s most pressing needs to boost the economy is a hotel.

The biggest need in the county to me is accommodations, said Tryon councilman Doug Arbogast.

Officials at a recent joint meeting of county and town officials said&bsp; I-26 in Columbus would be the most ideal location for a hotel, but Columbus officials said there is currently no interest in the town from hotel developers.

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Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson mentioned that several years ago a hotel developer was interested in building in Columbus, but the town could not negotiate a way to bring water and sewer to the hotel.

Officials at the joint meeting also discussed the possibility of combining the economic development and travel and tourism efforts of the county and its towns.

New tourism activities for the area were also mentioned, including more bicycle races, baseball and softball tournaments and whitewater rafting events on the Green River. The only thing that is missing is a hotel, officials said, as the area could not support large events without enough accommodations.

Arbogast said the area is ideal for bicycle races, particularly the grade between Saluda and Tryon. Bike trails would also be needed, officials said, as well as bicycle parking racks for all the downtowns.

More bicycle shops in the towns would also do well, officials said.

Polk County commissioner Warren Watson brought up a previous advertising effort called the String of Pearls on television promoting the towns of Landrum, Tryon and Saluda. Watson said Polk officials shouldnt forget Landrum, because it is an important component for the area.

Elected officials agreed to invite members of the Polk County Economic Development Commission to one of the joint meetings to specifically discuss economic and travel and tourism development in the county.

Officials also discussed jointly dealing with appearance issues throughout the county, such as an effort now to dress up the countys entrances coming into each town.

The group made a list of topics that the county and its towns could work together on in an effort to save money. The items on that list included:

&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;attracting businesses

&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;kudzu eradication

&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;joint purchases – vehicles,

sharing equipment

&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;law enforcement

&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;building, permitting,


&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;sign ordinances

&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;economic development/

travel and tourism

&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;recreation

&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;historic preservation

&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;information sharing/grant

applications, sharing a

grant writer

&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;solid waste and recycling

&bsp;&bsp; &bsp;water

County and town officials will hold their second joint meeting on Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. at Columbus Town Hall. The purpose of that meeting will be to discuss combining water sources in the future.