New focus on business paying dividends for South Carolina’s 8th largest city

New Focus on Business Paying Dividends for South Carolina’s 8th Largest City

If a time traveler arrived in Goose Creek, South Carolina today from the City’s not-so-distant past, they’d be forgiven for questioning their whereabouts.

Goose Creek’s stunning transformation – from a rural outpost to South Carolina’s eighth-largest municipality – is one of the true success stories of the Lowcountry and indeed the Southeastern United States.

In 2021 the word is out: Goose Creek is young, diverse – and thriving.

“I cannot imagine a better place to live – and a better time to live here – than Goose Creek, South Carolina in 2021,” Mayor Greg Habib said.

Habib, elected to the municipality’s highest office in 2018, vowed to make Goose Creek a more business-friendly City that takes full advantage of the incredible opportunity that South Carolina’s economically-humming Lowcountry provides. Three years into his first term in office, Habib is making good on that promise.

Goose Creek is a great place to start a business. The City’s new website includes an online business license application and calculator. A website exclusively dedicated to economic development in the City will be unveiled soon. Incentives to both purchase commercial property and improve already existing lots have become commonplace.

A new attitude has taken hold at City Hall, just as the business opportunities in the Charleston region are at an all-time high.

“In fact,” the Mayor said, “you’d be hard pressed to find a city anywhere in the United States better situated. We are in the sweet spot of a hotbed of growth and opportunity. Volvo is minutes to our north; Boeing is minutes to our south. The most important seaport on the east coast is less than 20 miles away. New industry coupled with Charleston’s emergence onto the international stage has created incredible opportunity.

“Today, we are ready and uniquely situated to seize that opportunity.”

Four years ago, Goose Creek City Council created a new position: Economic Development Director. Award-winning administrator Matt Brady filled that position. Through an array of incentives and outreach, Brady has developed a foothold in the state and region’s business community. He also helped create a new slogan for Goose Creek that encapsulates the municipality’s ascendance: #CreekRising.

The rebranding effort – complete with a new logo for only the second time in the history of the municipality – earned the City’s first South Carolina Municipal Association Communications Award in 2019, and exemplified a creative, vibrant and fresh approach to marketing.

“We needed to change the narrative of Goose Creek, from what its previous perception had been to what its reality is,” Habib said. “That reality is, we’re highly educated, high earning, highly diverse and really young. It’s a place where doing business is easy and profitable.”

Brady said the #CreekRising campaign has created a flow of positivity.

“We have become part of the regional conversation, which we view as really important,” Brady said. “It’s a way for us to show that we’re a newer City, we’re growing, we’re dynamic and changing. Whatever you thought about Goose Creek a decade ago has changed, along with our willingness to do business if you want to invest with us.”

Today Goose Creek is poised for even greater growth. In 2021, the City’s population is estimated at 47,000 and growing, up nearly 20 percent since 2010. The average household income in Goose Creek is $80,000, and the median age is a young 34.

Habib knows well that, in order to keep property taxes low, local governments must make sure that their commercial districts grow as quickly as their population, and Goose Creek is no exception.  The past two years have seen continued commercial growth in Carnes Crossroads, which recently welcomed Roper St. Francis Hospital to Goose Creek.

Yet while creating a business-friendly environment has been a guiding principle, the City offers much more to the millennials, families and seniors who are choosing a home.

No area of government has seen a more dramatic transformation in recent years than the City’s Recreation Department.

In 2018, a spectacular new, 35,000-square-foot Activity Center became the newest addition to an already-impressive facilities list at the Michael J. Heitzler Recreation Complex. The Center is home to a gymnastics arena that is one of the region’s finest. The addition complements a Community Center that includes two indoor basketball courts, a complete workout area, an indoor track, and a wide variety of dance, art, and activity rooms.

A wide range of programs for all ages are offered every day at Goose Creek Recreation.

The Recreation Complex sits on the Municipal Center campus, located beside the lake behind City Hall. “Our city has wonderful parks and hiker-biker trails,” Habib said. “The Municipal Center complex itself has developed into a community hub, complete with a lake that’s perfect for walking, jogging – or even wetting a line.”

The past year has seen the City’s Recreation offerings continue to expand, including its thriving gymnastics program.

The city-owned Crowfield Golf Club is a hidden jewel available to every resident.  Nestled in the scenic, breathtaking Hamlets subdivision in Crowfield, the course is considered one of the region’s finest.

Goose Creek’s nationally recognized police and fire departments, along with a top-notch Department of Public Works, completes a community picture that, when coupled with the City’s wide range of housing options, is hard to beat for residents and business owners.

In 2019, LJ Roscoe became the region’s first female Police Chief when she was selected by Broom to lead the GCPD. Her counterpart at the GCFD is Mike Nixon, who the City recruited away from the Northeast U.S. last year.

In 2018, the City’s state-of-the-art Fire Department Headquarters Station opened. Considered to be the crown jewel of municipal stations in South Carolina, the facility includes a community meeting room, a six-truck bay, and over 30,000 feet of office and housing space.

The City’s outstanding Public Works Department compliments its Police and Fire operations. “We provide our own water. We pick up our own trash. We keep the landscape beautiful,” Habib said.

In 2021, the City of Goose Creek is indeed a great place to live, work and play. Its business opportunities are limitless, its people are its greatest asset, its future is bright, and its time has come.

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