Marlboro County leaders consider ways to improve quality of life

BENNETTSVILLE, SC (WBTW) – Marlboro County Council will create a multi-year plan to improve quality of life in the county.

Council members have identified four areas of life in Marlboro County they want to improve over the next five to 10 years.

“It’d be great to get some new businesses into this county, open up those shops [along Main Street],” voices Jeannie Vuicich.

Vuicich says while it would be nice to walk down Main Street and not see numerous empty store fronts and have jobs brought back to the county, she’s more concerned with obtaining quality healthcare.

“The hospital has closed down,” states Vuicich. “We need a hospital.”

Marlboro County Administrator Ron Munnerlyn says county council is working to create a new plan to improve the primary problems the county faces.

“Having 30% of our population living below the poverty level is huge but it’s also the most broad,” says Munnerlyn. “How do you attack the problems we have?”

Poverty, unemployment, public safety and education are the four primary areas of concern for council members.

“What we need to address is trying to break the cycle,” urges Munnerlyn.

Munnerlyn says the county’s population is misleading because it includes inmates. When the number of prisoners is taken out of the equation, more than 20 percent of the population has moved out of the county in the last two decades.

“Maybe we don’t have amenities and restaurants because there aren’t folks here to do that,” says Munnerlyn. “The folks that left here were people that were mobile and had jobs and not in poverty.”

Vuicich’s daughter, 4-year-old Jada, is excited council is looking to improve the county— especially if that means more playgrounds.

“Monkey bars, slides, racecars that you play,” envisions Jada.

Council’s next step is to create the official plan and find partnerships to help address the problems. The goal is to have a completed plan by December.