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York County keeps growing

County just south of state line drawing people and businesses

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    Baxter Town Center (Market Street, Fort Mill) : Baxter Village is a planned community sitting on Interstate 77 at the S.C. Highway 160 exit. Only about three blocks long, the business district has restaurants, shopping and places to sit outside.

    Catawba pottery sales: The Catawba Indian tribe is based in York County and known for making pottery the same way their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. It’s sold by the potters, either from their homes or at larger pottery sales held mostly in the fall.

    PW’s Gourmet Ice Cream (491 S. Herlong Ave., Rock Hill): I can’t promise it’s always perfect, but even bad ice cream there is still pretty darn good. 803-366-7777.



If you are considering moving to York County, just south of the state line, prepare yourself for two inevitabilities:

1) The intersection of Interstate 77 North and Interstate 485 will be a parking lot every weekday morning from 7:15 am to 8:45 am.

2) The Observer will print a letter to the editor every three to four months from someone claiming South Carolinians should pay a payroll tax or toll road fee if they work in Mecklenburg County.

Never mind that South Carolinians working in Mecklenburg County are required to pay North Carolina income taxes. We also pay South Carolina taxes, so prepare yourself to file two state and one federal income tax forms each April.

Is it worth it? Well, York County’s population grew by 37 percent from 2000 to 2010, and another 8,500 people showed up in 2011-12.

Most are moving to York County for the schools and the plentiful open space, including Lake Wylie, Tega Cay and Fort Mill. Having lived in York County for 20 years, I can offer a few pointers.

First, it tends to be more conservative than Mecklenburg County. I speculate this has something to do with Jim and Tammy Bakker who operated the Christian theme park Heritage USA in Fort Mill during the 1980s.

One of the biggest culture shocks when I moved there was that stores closed early on Wednesdays for church and nothing was open Sundays before 1:30 p.m.

That has changed for the most part. Rock Hill, with its traditional main street storefronts, is the county’s largest city, though not the county seat (that’s the town of York).

One of its high points is the new Riverwalk project in northern Rock Hill, a 1,008-acre village along the Catawba River that mixes homes and apartments, with a burst of retail to come. Homebuyers can find incredibly close views of the river there.

Stories have long persisted of abandoned Confederate cannons being exposed in the river when the water is low.It’s also rumored the Confederacy’s gold is buried in the general area, because a train carrying the South’s treasury ran out of tracks in April 1865 in adjacent Chester County.

Belief that the gold remains buried was bolstered in 1986, after four Confederate cannons were found buried near Chester’s railroad tracks.

So grab a shovel and start digging.

Mark writes about nonprofits and immigration for the Observer.
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