Rock Hill has been chosen as a "showcase city" by the National League of Cities, which cited the planned Riverwalk development and its world-class cycling center.
Rock Hill was one of six cities highlighted in the group's economic development category and will be featured as a model at the organization's event in November.
Other winners included a flexible incentive program in Boulder, Colo.; the Potosi Brewery Restoration in Potosi, Wisc., and Virginia Beach as a green destination.
The League's program recognizes cities that "create local jobs and globally competitive economies, support entrepreneurship and small business as well as attract foreign investment."
Riverwalk was called a new era of development.
The $600-million, 1,000-acre development at the former Celanese industrial site will include townhomes, businesses and a business park.
The adjacent 250-acre Rock Hill Outdoor Center features trails, athletic complexes, a mountain and BMX/Supercross and Cyclocross tracks and the Giordana Velodrome. The velodrome is set to open at the beginning of next year.
Riverwalk is expected to be complete in 20 years.
City budget director Steven Gibson called Riverwalk a "great (and) transformational project" for Rock Hill.
"Consider what was there: a 1,000-acre site that was a closed-down (manufacturing) plant," he said. "Now consider how that already is transformed with the Riverwalk Trail and how many people use that."
The 2.25-mile Riverwalk Trail, already open to the public, attracts at least 9,000 visitors per month, city officials say.
Gibson said the development could create thousands of jobs once all construction is completed.
"Four-thousand new jobs is something that can be transformational and (that) everyone would welcome here," he said.
The development also serves as an example of a public-private partnership between the developer and the city, he said, with the way it is financed through assessments paid by property owners.
The outdoor center and velodrome, especially, are a great example of an active outdoor lifestyle, Gibson said.
"It's really going to generate some hospitality tax revenues, for sure," he said. "The cycling community can't wait for these facilities to come along - specifically the Velodrome and the BMX, mountain biking and Cyclocross tracks.
"There's a lot of buzz in the cycling community."
Nicole E. Smith 803-329-4068
- Filed Under: Riverwalk