Relaxed lakeside living and thriving communities that maintain their small-town atmosphere draw new residents to York County.
With easy access along I-77 and S.C. 49, residents have the best of both worlds - the charms and friendliness of small-town living combined with cultural, shopping and other attractions of a large city just across the state line. Families are drawn to the area by excellent employment opportunities with rapidly expanding industrial areas nearby, sporting events, a reputation for quality public schools and recreational opportunities on Lake Wylie and in nearby parks.
York County is full of cultural activities that show the true beauty, character and history of the area. Anne Springs Close Greenway is a 2,300-acre protected natural area that includes camping sites and a reservoir that's great for fishing. The Museum of York County features mounted African animals, tribal dress and art galleries, and Historic Brattonsville is a Revolutionary War battle site consisting of two dozen structures and extensive nature trails which served as the film site for Mel Gibson's The Patriot.
Paramount's Carowinds theme park straddles the N.C./S.C. state line. The park offers summer season entertainment, roller coasters, a waterpark and other attractions to the young and young at heart, including the amusing opportunity to simultaneously place one foot in each state.
Lake Wylie has long attracted residents to live on the water's edge. Nevertheless, today many new communities are springing up near the lake in Fort Mill and Rock Hill. For those who enjoy living on the links, Regent Park, off U.S. 21 just south of the state line, features an 18-hole golf course.
Travel farther south along I-77 and you're in Fort Mill, a community once known for textiles and peach farming that is now rapidly becoming a business and residential magnet. Fort Mill takes its name from a colonial-era fort built by the British and a gristmill on nearby Steele Creek. Today the population of the town of Fort Mill is just over 8,300 people a number that is expected to grow rapidly over the next decade.
One neighborhood preserving small-town charm is The Village of Baxter, a 1,000-acre community developed by a company owned by the Close textile family of Springs Industries fame. The community has tried to create a neighborhood modeled after small Southern towns. Homes are set close to the street and include porches to encourage interaction among neighbors. New, valuable additions to the community include a $1.5-million community center that includes a pool, aerobics room and meeting rooms as well as a pre-school, a public elementary school, a branch of the York County Library and a YMCA.
The Catawba Indians, the only surviving Native American tribe in South Carolina, made their home here for many years. At one time, 30,000 Catawba's lived in the area. Scotch-Irish settlers followed the Catawba Indians in York by creating the York District in 1785. In 1976, York County was the first region to establish a council-manager form of government. The City of York has seen recent change through the downtown revitalization program, which put an emphasis back toward the center of the city with renovations like the reopening of the historic Sylvia Theater. With the challenges of coming growth, local leaders are busy making sure that Fort Mill and York retain their relaxed style and small-town charm.
West of I-77 is Rock Hill, the fifth-largest city in South Carolina, which just celebrated its 150th anniversary. Rock Hill boasts new business parks, low unemployment and an abundance of new neighborhoods with something for everyone.
Rock Hill's downtown is a model for surrounding communities to redevelop their older Main Street districts and bring new business and residential development back to downtown.
The Textile Corridor, which is a series of old mills marked for development, is still in the planning stage, but luxury town homes, loft apartments and new restaurants and shops are recent additions to this area. Manchester Village is one such area that boasts retail shops and town homes, which will only become more prosperous with the expansion of Dave Lyle Blvd.
While new developments are thriving, Winthrop University has been a Rock Hill landmark since 1895. Long known for its teacher preparation programs, Winthrop has also gained widespread recognition for its other courses of study. The university offers 82 undergraduate and 45 graduate degrees and options in the College of Arts & Sciences, Business Administration, Education and Visual and Performing Arts. The university also has established itself as a regional center for the arts, joining the ranks of only 17 institutions nationwide accredited by the national associations of music, art and design, theater and dance.
Rock Hill, Fort Mill and the surrounding areas are served by a variety of local medical practices and health-care services to fit anyone's needs. Piedmont Medical Center in Rock Hill is a fully accredited hospital providing a full range of emergency, acute-care and specialty services.