FORT MILL — At a recent Fort Mill Town council meeting, during a presentation on an on-going project to help residents and visitors better navigate their way to popular destinations, someone quipped that perhaps someday people will be looking for signs pointing to a yet to be built hospital.
That drew a smattering of laughter. Now, that’s no joke.
Last week, 10 days after that meeting, it was announced that, after a 15-year court battle, Piedmont Medical Center finally got the green light to build Fort Mill’s first hospital. The 100-bed, full-service hospital is just one of many destinations in a growing town.
From a multi-use sports facility where out of town teams come to compete, to downtown restaurants, the community theater, schools, Anne Springs Close Greenway and Fort Mill Recreation Complex, among others, there’s more to see and do than ever before.
Now, the town and its partners are planning on ways to help people get there.
A Wayfinder Development Plan was presented to Council by the Fort Mill Economic Development Council. Member LeAnne Burnett Morse provided details from a joint study by the Economic Council and town staff.
Morse, who made the comment about a future hospital that elicited chuckles, said part of the program — which she said could be funded through grants and contributions by stakeholders, such a PMC and others, would also “help create an identity inside the community. That signage will help with that delineation of what is (inside) town and what is not town,” she said, mentioning the continuing misperception that Baxter Village is inside Fort Mill town limits.
The proposal includes three types of signage that incorporates the town’s logo, including signs that mark when travelers are entering town limits from different routes.
Mayor Guynn Savage said this is an idea the town explored in the past. Now that the downtown area is humming with the types of places that draw tourists as well as residents, she seemed enthused that it’s back on track.
“This is preliminary work that unfortunately we began years ago and never brought to fruition,” Savage said. “I thank you for the energy, effort and execution.”
Savage, asked if Google Maps and other GPS apps and services will be updated and was told that is part of the process. She said one benefit would be helping people “cut down on unnecessary trips” which could help reduce traffic on increasingly busy roads.
Councilman Chris Moody, while marveling at all the restaurants that have sprung up on Main Street — which is now also home to the town’s first brew pub — also brought up how difficult it can be to find parking downtown. Many people, he said, might not realize Fort Mill Church of God allows some public parking in its expansive Confederate Street lot.
It was also pointed out that there would be signs meant to help pedestrians find their way around after they find a place to park.
“This will be a good thing for our community,” Moody said.
Economic Council member David Buist said the economic council, town and stake holders, including the Fort Mill School District, have all “been chipping away” at the process.
“The stake holders all put their work in. This wasn’t done in a vacuum,” he said.