08.18.2022 County News

Fairfield County Receives Recreational Economy for Rural Communities Grant

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Fairfield County is proud to announce it is one of 25 small and rural communities chosen to receive a Recreation Economy for Rural Communities (RERC) planning grant. A joint effort between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC), the RERC program is a planning assistance program that helps rural communities leverage outdoor recreation to revitalize their Main Streets.

Fairfield County is rich with beautiful land and natural resources, all of which can be used simultaneously for economic development and preservation,” says Fairfield County Vice-Chair, Shirley Greene. “It has lakes and unspoiled green spaces with town hubs that can be easily adapted for the many successful enterprises that make up eco-tourism. We are happy to be a part of the EPA Recreation Economy for Rural Communities planning initiative.

A federal planning team will work with the Fairfield County steering committee and other community stakeholders over the course of four to six months, with a two-day facilitated community workshop as the focal point. Participants will work together to develop strategies and an action plan to grow the County’s local outdoor recreation economy.

“We are excited about this opportunity to identify ways that Fairfield County can grow its outdoor recreation economy,” says Fairfield County Administrator, Malik Whitaker. “Fairfield County is rich in outdoor assets and understanding how to use them is a great way to maximize their use, foster County pride, and benefit our local economy.”

Fairfield County was chosen following a comprehensive review process from a pool of more than 100 applicants. Through the RERC grant, the County and its partners hope to connect its communities with existing state parks and lakes along with the statewide Palmetto Trail, help residents know about and access these outdoor amenities, draw visitors to the County, and support tourism in the various downtown communities.

To learn more about the Recreational Economy for Rural Communities Program visit: Recreation Economy for Rural Communities | US EPA.

Photo: Alston Trailhead in Fairfield County, Picture Courtesy of Jack Cohoon