Doug Echols Doug Echols


Rock Hill, South Carolina

Economic Prosperity Founded on Trees and Diversity

Rock Hill is a gateway to South Carolina on Interstate 77 and the mayor wants travelers and prospective businesses to stop, look at his community and see it as "a special place."

"It's important to make a good impression," says Doug Echols, mayor for over 15 years. He has seen the textile industry go away, but the city now hosts several business parks and a healthy, diverse economy. And trees are vital to the success. "This community has a long history of interest in trees. We feel that trees contribute to our economic enterprises," he says. "Businesses are looking for a quality place and we have had them specifically mention trees as part of that."

One contribution was the planting of magnolias and other species at the Interstate interchange. Funding for the trees came from a community beautification endowment established a publisher, A. W. Huckle, many years ago. Nearby is another source of pride, a new district of residences, retail and light industry – a 'conservation development' – where trees were a primary consideration.

In all, trees demonstrate to visitors, residents and prospective business that Rock Hill is a community that cares about the quality of life.

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The natural environment is foremost in developing a sense of place and there's tremendous economic benefit in creating those areas.

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