As the designated Community Reuse Organization (CRO) for the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site, the Savannah River Site Community Reuse Organization (SRSCRO) is charged with the responsibility for developing and implementing a comprehensive plan to diversify the economy of the SRSCRO region.
During its 50 year history, the Savannah River Site has supported America’s national defense mission, contributing significantly to the successful end of the Cold War at the beginning of this decade. Importantly, the Site’s contributions were made without incidents that affected the public health and safety. During the Cold War era, the communities of Georgia and South Carolina which surround the Site have offered their wholehearted support for the Site’s mission. These communities have enthusiastically advocated expansions in existing missions and the introduction of new Site missions to maintain core technical competencies and leadership. They have also funded the physical infrastructure network of roads, schools, commercial and housing facilities necessary to support Site operations.
The SRSCRO region must strive to achieve economic independence to reduce its historic reliance on the Savannah River Site for economic stability. To this end, the SRSCRO developed a Regional Development Implementation Strategy in 1995 which outlined a series of economic development goals.
The goals of the “RDI Implementation Strategy” are:
- To diversify the region’s economic base;
- To create and retain high value, long-term private sector jobs;
- To transfer Savannah River Site technologies to new and existing area firms for commercial application.
This strategy still has the potential to have a positive impact on high value job creation and retention, in addition to complementing and supporting each other. The original RDI Plan, which was described as “A Blueprint for the Future”, intended to serve as a guide to assist and focus the region on the needs and opportunities for the future. The plan was intended to be a “map” developed by the community at large to serve as a guide for economic growth.
Economic Development Program
The SRSCRO updated this plan in 2014 and keeps the same RDI goals in-place. The purpose of this strategy is not to rigidly enforce but to provide economic development parameters for the region as it pertains to SRSCRO resources. While most definitions of economic development only focus on indicators, such as jobs or wealth creation, we have expanded the practice to its essential goal: economic development is the application of resources to stimulate private investment.
With this in mind, the role of SRSCRO in the regional economic development sector gains a clarity that other definitions obscure. The SRSCRO can not by itself create jobs or generate wealth. But, we do control significant resources related to financial assets and community leadership. Directing these resources effectively and efficiently is its paramount economic development duty.
The revised plan identifies how the SRSCRO plans to invest SRSCRO resources to promote economic development over the next 5-year period. It is considered to be a tool to help guide the SRSCRO in its efforts to use its resources to support clearly-defined community economic development purposes.