County seeks designation as retirement community

By Abby Hackmann - [email protected]

LAURINBURG — With an official resolution passed by city council on Tuesday, Laurinburg and Scotland County are a step closer to being designated as a certified retirement community.

The resolution requested that the city be named a North Carolina Certified Retirement County under Senate Bill 1627, which in 2008 created a program that employs the North Carolina Department of Commerce to help communities market themselves to retirees and develop retirement communities.

“The long term goal is to attract nice people who will come and buy homes here or live at Scotia Village,” said Nick Sojka, chairman of the Scotland County Tourism Development Authority.

The resolution lists the county’s “cultural amenities, relaxed lifestyle choices, comprehensive health care system, access to continuing education and convenient proximity to the beaches and mountains (and) metropolitan areas” as incentives for relocation to the area.

If Laurinburg’s membership is approved, it will be the third official retirement community in the area along with Lumberton and Pittsboro.

“Now that the Laurinburg City Council has approved it that means that all of us have been given the green light,” said Sojka.

Cory Hughes, the executive director of the tourism authority, is now finishing up the application that will be submitted to the North Carolina Department of Commerce. The entities involved alongside the authority were the city, the county, Scotia Village, and St. Andrews University.

Teddy Warner, community development director, helped in the process by completing the application for the city, He thinks it’s a good idea for Laurinburg due to the fact that it’s a rural area that is currently economically deprived.

“For a tourism and travel type perspective, it will get people to want to come visit,” said Sojka, which will in turn bring in revenue for the whole county.

“The city, the county, and the chamber, we are all going to be working together as a unity,” said Teddy Warner, the city’s community development director.

“There are so many things here that we have to be proud of and we have to reflect that,” he said. “If we have one person move here to Scotland County, that’s successful.”

Abby Hackmann can be reached at 910-506-3171.

By Abby Hackmann

[email protected]

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