Monday, January 23, 2012

Aquatic, rec center coming to Santee

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The proposed Santee Recreation and Water Park will not be a duplication of the Orangeburg Aquatic Center, Orangeburg County Deputy Administrator Harold Young said at Wednesday's Santee Town Council meeting. The Santee facility will feature an aquatic center, basketball and tennis courts, baseball fields, a soccer field and pavilions.

SANTEE - Orangeburg County is moving forward with plans to build an aquatic park and recreation center near the Santee Conference Center on Bass Drive.

Plans for the Santee Recreation and Water Park were announced at a special called Santee Town Council meeting Wednesday night. At the meeting, the council unanimously approved second reading of an ordinance to sell 8.47 acres to the county for "$10 love and affection" for the new facility. The property is bordered by Bass Drive, Bonner Avenue and a small portion of Newton Road, and is categorized as "general commercial zoning." A residential zone is located behind it.

A public hearing on the project prior to second-reading approval of the ordinance did not generate any comments.

The property deed stipulates construction of the proposed recreation facility would begin by June 2014 or the land and the $10 would revert back to the Town of Santee.

Harold Young, county deputy administrator, said an aquatic center, basketball courts, tennis courts, baseball fields, a soccer field, recreational pavilions and ample parking are included in the overall master plan for the park.

County Councilman Johnnie Ravenell said the project will not only benefit Santee but the eastern end of the county as well.

He said development of the Recreation and Water Park will play an important role in attracting businesses, residents and visitors to the Santee area, which encompasses the Global Logistics Triangle at the intersections of U.S. 301 and Interstates 95 and 26.

Funding for the project is "tapped under the next round of Capital Project Sales Tax funds," also known as the penny sales tax, Young said. The next round of funding will be in 2013, he said. Young said the project is a joint effort of the county and the town.

While Young provided a conceptual drawing of the park, he cautioned that "it may change many times before the project happens."

He also noted the project "will not occur overnight," pointing out construction of the Orangeburg County Aquatic Center took nearly two years to complete. While the YMCA staffs and manages the center in Orangeburg, Young said he could not yet confirm if the YMCA would be involved at the Santee facility.

Former Santee mayor Silas Seabrooks asked about the possibility of the municipalities securing or borrowing funding so construction could begin sooner.

Young said County Councilmen Johnny Ravenell and Johnnie Wright had some funds for recreation they were willing to provide to try to start some of the architectural and engineering work so the groundwork could begin "sometime soon."

"It's a complicated process because ... this is just a picture ... there are volumes of features that have to be looked at and gone through. They'll have to do a study to figure out volume ... average daily users," Young said.

The aquatic center in Santee would "not be a duplication" of what's already in Orangeburg, he said, noting, "We want to give you something different."

Throughout the planning process, there will be public readings and hearings on contracts so citizens can also be involved, Young said.

Santee Mayor Donnie Hilliard said he and town officials were looking forward to working with the county on the project, and he thanked the county officials for their time and effort.

Also during the meeting, a public hearing was held on the proposed ordinance to amend the town's water purchase agreement with the Lake Marion Regional Water Agency. No comments were made, and the council approved second and final reading of the ordinance.

Under the amended ordinance, the LMRWA will no longer have exclusive rights to revenues generated through the town's sale of water.

Hilliard, prior to first reading of the ordinance at council's regular January meeting, told town officials, "In the agreement you originally signed, you state that all revenues that would be derived from the sale of water by the town was subject to the auspices of control by the Lake Marion Regional Water Agency, meaning that if the town would ever have a need to borrow some funds, they could not place the revenues towards the payback of the loan because the Lake Marion Regional Water Agency had first rights to those funds."

He noted at that meeting that Santee will be "in the market for borrowing money for our water/wastewater system (upgrades)" and that the "bonding agency will not make (funds) available to us" without the town being able to pledge water revenues as payback of the loan.

In other business, Bob Faulkner, auditor with the firm of Faulkner and Thompson, presented the town's 2010-2011 fiscal year audit.

He praised the town for a "successful audit" and said the town received a "clean" opinion.

Faulkner said the books and records were in good shape and his firm received cooperation the town employees.

"We didn't find any major accounting issues ... and the town did a good job of being fiscally responsible," he said.

In addition, the auditor reported the town's internal control issues from previous audits had been "whittled down."

"There are a lot fewer comments on there today" than in previous years, Faulkner said.

He advised council to document the town's policies and procedures in a manual.

Also Wednesday, council went into closed, executive session to discuss a contractual matter but did not take any action.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I-26 project meant to spur port-related business

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Interstate 26 near Summerville will be widened and a new interchange built to spur port-related business that is expected to create more than 10,000 jobs, said state Rep. Chip Limehouse.

The State Infrastructure Bank board voted unanimously today to approve $15 million for the project to widen two miles of the interstate to six lanes up to Jedburg. A new interchange will be built at Sheep Island Road for port shipper business, said Limehouse, R-Charleston and a member of the board.

"This is going to provide much-needed jobs for a Lowcountry that is struggling out of a recession," he said.

The effort will mean an estimated 14,000 port warehouse distribution jobs for Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester and Orangeburg counties. "This is really big for the Port of Charleston," Limehouse said.

He said at least two large distribution centers and two hotels will be built as a result of the interstate improvements.

"This is really big news. It's a great economic development opportunity," said state Sen. Paul Campbell, R-Berkeley.

The SIB and other state agencies are partners in the effort, he said.

SPA spokeswoman Allison Skipper said the highway improvements would be a great benefit to the port and complement its $1.3 billion in capital improvements during the next 10 years.

Distributions centers are places to pack and unload shipping containers that travel through the port. Skipper said the stretch of I-26 that will be widened could be transformed into a hub of private distribution.

The SPA has committed $8 million to the effort, she said.

Limehouse said I-26 needs to be a six-lane road all the way to I-95. He also said it is critical that Charleston Harbor be deepened in a timely manner.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I-95/US 301 is getting funding!!!!!!

PRESS RELEASE: Clyburn Announces $12 Million TIGER Grant for I-95/US 301 Interchange

Washington, DC - Sixth District Congressman and House Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn today announced Orangeburg County has received a $12.1 million U.S. Department of Transportation TIGER grant to create a southbound access ramp from U.S. Highway 301 to Interstate 95. The project will also extend Highway 301 from the interchange to the site of the Jafza intermodal distribution center.

This grant award added to $14.9 million previously secured by Congressman Clyburn, and $3 million and $1 million contributed by the State and Orangeburg County respectively, will be enough to complete this $26 million phase of the I-95/U.S. Highway 301 improvement project. This project is crucial to the full utilization of the Jafza center, which is located in the Global Logistics Triangle bounded by I-95, Highway 301, and S.C. Highway 6.

"Today's TIGER grant is an early Christmas present for the State of South Carolina," Congressman Clyburn said. "This project will make a Continental Tire or Boeing aircraft type project possible for Orangeburg County and the I-95 corridor."

According to Orangeburg County's TIGER grant application, Jafza "center operators expect the full distribution center to generate more than 6,000 jobs regionally in an area which is, and has been for decades, one of the nation's most economically disadvantaged."

The center, when completed, will receive offloaded cargo from the Charleston and Savannah ports by train and trucks for distribution to its final destination.

"Orangeburg County is thrilled with today's announcement of the TIGER grant to enhance the I-95/US 301 interchange that will create an opportunity for significant economic development along an economically challenged area on the I-95 corridor," said Bill Clark, Orangeburg County Administrator. "I would like to thank Congressman James Clyburn, along with Senator Lindsey Graham and the other members of our Congressional Delegation for their work in assisting our local officials in making improvements to the needed infrastructure that will lead to job creation for the citizens in our County."

"This is a project I have been working on for more than a decade, and it is exciting to see it come together at a time when our rural communities along the I-95 corridor have been hit so hard by the economic downturn," Congressman Clyburn continued. "Today is truly a great day in Orangeburg County."

In addition to the long-term impact on the local economy, the construction of the access ramp and 301 extension is estimated to create 404 jobs from 2012 to 2016. Most of those jobs are expected to be created in Orangeburg County, which ranks eighth among the nation's poorest counties with a population greater than 65,000 based on 2008 data.

From the Times and Democrat.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sumter get Continental Tire Plant

Logistics key to Continental decision to build in S.C.

By Chuck Crumbo
Published Oct. 12, 2011

SUMTER -- Continental Tire’s plans to build a new plant in Sumter County have been hailed as proof that the Obama administration’s decision to crack down on imports of subsidized tires from China is working.

In September of 2009, the government launched a three-year plan to impose tariffs on Chinese tires — which were priced at least 25% less than tires made in the United States — to bolster the U.S. industry and spur job growth.

Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt speaks during the announcement about Continental Tire’s plans to open a manufacturing plant in Sumter County. (Photo/Jim Hammond)
Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt speaks during the announcement about Continental Tire’s plans to open a manufacturing plant in Sumter County. (Photo/Jim Hammond)

When Continental Tire the Americas, which is based in Fort Mill, said in April it planned to build a new plant somewhere in the United States, theAlliance for American Manufacturing cheered the announcement and said “enforcing U.S. trade law works.”

But as far as Nikolai Setzer is concerned, tariffs had nothing to do with Continental’s plans to build a $500 million manufacturing facility in the Palmetto State.

“We have such a strong demand for our tires that it makes it necessary for us to increase our U.S. operations next year independent of external forces,” said Setzer, a member of Conti’s executive board and chief of the company’s global tire business about the tariffs policy on Chinese tires. Continental Tire is a subsidiary of Continental AG in Hanover, Germany.

Following last Thursday’s announcement at the Sumter Opera House, Setzer repeatedly stressed logistics was key to the company’s decision.

“It’s not driven by the outside environment,” Setzer said of the decision to build a plant that eventually will employ 1,600 workers. “It’s driven by our important KPIs (key performance indicators), which must be fulfilled.”

“We need a good logistics setup. Logistics are important for tires. We are close to a harbor here,” Setzer said, referring to the Port of Charleston.

The port, which is less than 100 miles from Sumter, is important to the tire industry because most raw materials used to make tires — like rubber and carbon black — are imported.

The port also is essential to exporting products, although Setzer said tires made in Sumter are expected to be used for consumption in North America.

According to the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Commerce Department, South Carolina exported $2 billion worth of rubber and plastic products in 2010.

Other advantages the state has logistically is its location between New York and Miami, its interstate highway system that connects the state to major cities along the Eastern Seaboard, and railroads.

“We have lots of customers on the East Coast,” Setzer said, adding that the plant will be supplying tires to automakers in the United States. “And we have suppliers close. It’s a great advantage for us to be close.”

South Carolina, which already is the No. 3 tire manufacturing state, could vault to first place by the time Continental’s facility is up and running in 2017.

Continental’s project, along with the $1.2 billion expansion of Bridgestone’s manufacturing facilities in Aiken County, and Michelin’s $200 million investment in its Lexington plant, will increase the state’s daily production capacity by 50% to 120,000 tires from the current figure of 80,000, according to statistics compiled by Tire Business, a trade publication for tire dealers.

As the state’s tire business grows, more suppliers and vendors are likely to follow.

For example, the same day Continental was making headlines in Sumter, DuPont announced the startup of a $500 million Kevlar manufacturing facility in Berkeley County near Charleston.

While Kevlar fiber is best known as the material that goes into making lightweight, bullet-proof armor for law enforcement officers, it also is being used to manufacture tires. According to DuPont, Kevlar was used in 1 billion tires that went to the automotive and aerospace industries in 2010.

DuPont could be an example of more investment and jobs that are likely to follow this year’s $2 billion worth of announcements by Continental, Bridgestone and Michelin.

“It’ll be interesting to watch how fast the supplier industry starts migrating toward South Carolina, further anchoring the state at the top of the manufacturing ledger,” Tire Business said an editorial in Monday’s edition.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Eastern Orangeburg County Sustainability Study

I just had a chance to meet Mr. Roger Waldon of Clarion Associates. His company is conducting a study of our area and the impact the Global Logistics Triangle and Jafza will have on our communities.

Please visit and get involved in this study. You can help shape the future of our community in Eastern Orangeburg County.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Columbia Under Construction: Winter 2010 edition

Columbia Regional Business Report

Jafza Santee Training Center
721 Hannah Drive – Santee

This 16,000-square-foot, multitenant building consists of 12,000 square feet of industrial
space and 4,000 square feet of office and conference space. The building is designed for
approximately 6,000 square feet of expansion. All the industrial units for lease have frontage
on Interstate 95.
Developer: Jafza South Carolina, Charleston
Architect: MV Design/Build, Columbia
General contractor: Miller-Valentine Construction, Columbia
Engineer: MV Design/Build, Columbia
Estimated completion date: March 2011

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Build it and they will come!

Jafza's first building is out of the ground. I will post updated photos every couple of weeks.