John Gettys announces run for mayor of Rock Hill

John Gettys, a co-founder of Morton & Gettys, has announced his intention to run for mayor of Rock Hill, S.C.

Gettys announced on Wednesday, March 29, that he would file in August for the nonpartisan October election for the office. The previous day, it had been announced that longtime Mayor Doug Echols would not run for re-election.

Gettys served Ward 4 on Rock Hill City Council from 2002-2010, and “now I think I’m ready to take on a different role,” he said.

Gettys has helped promote sports tourism, which has been a boon to the city. He spearheaded the creation of the local Sports Commission, “to get the highest and best return on sporting venues built over the last 30 years.”

“We don’t have a beach at our back door,” he said, so Rock Hill has to create its own opportunities.

One outcome he cites as chair of the sports commission is the UCI BMX world championship, to be held in Rock Hill in July 2017. The city expects to welcome 3,500 participants and 20,000 visitors to the area, with a local projected economic impact of some $13 million.

This, the biggest international sporting event held in the state of South Carolina, didn’t happen overnight. The city has hosted a BMX World Cup event each of the last two years.

As chair of the Sports Commission, he advocated for the construction of an Indoor Sports Facility to be located downtown on the site of the former textile mill commonly referred to as the Bleachery. This facility is expected to generate $14 million a year once operational. The facility is being built by the private sector and will be leased to the city, an example of the kinds of public-private partnerships he would seek to promote as mayor.

Gettys is proud of the way Rock Hill has maintained a strong identity and sense of community as it has grown, avoiding the trap of becoming just another bedroom community for a larger city.

Rock Hill is one of the fastest-growing communities in South Carolina. Nevertheless, he says, he wants to help the city do better. “The recovery’s not broad enough yet, in terms of everyone seeing the benefits. We need to broaden the good times for more of our people.”

“We need Rock Hill to truly become a city with opportunities for everyone.”

In addition to his law degree, Gettys earned a master’s in public administration from the University of South Carolina. His law practice focuses on real estate, probate administration, probate litigation and personal injury.

In addition to chairing the Rock Hill Sports Commission, he currently serves on the board of The Jeffrey Williams Foundation and chairs the Football Committee at South Pointe High School. He is a member of the local advisory board of South State Bank and an elder at First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church.

He and his wife, Christi, live in Rock Hill with their three sons, Jack, Grier and Evan.