Monday, January 26, 2009

Amid recession, experience Progress '08

From the Times and Democrat

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The nation’s new leader tells us these are difficult times. “That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood,” President Obama said in his inaugural address.

In The T&D Region, we know these are difficult days. The unemployment rate is more than a number. Lots of people are without work. Lots of people are living a tough existence.

BUT, our leaders and officials are not sitting on idle. They are pushing for progress – and finding success.

Chronicling the progress of the past 12 months is what today’s annual Times and Democrat Progress ’08 edition is all about. We’ve decided to note on the cover that you’ll be surprised at the level of progress in the region during a difficult year.

Inside you’ll find the stories and images that reveal just how much has been accomplished. For example:

• February ’08 – World Trade City announces it will locate a major business and logistics center in Orangeburg County.

• March – Three Rivers Solid Waste Authority begins sending methane gas from its landfill to power an industry. The United Way surpasses its goal.

• April – The Lake Marion Regional Water Authority turns on the tap and the new Starbucks plant in Calhoun County goes for “green” status. And thankfully, the contingent of S.C. National Guard personnel return from Afghanistan.

• May – Orangeburg unveils its new City Council Chambers in the renovated former fire station. It is called the finest such facility in the state. Zanzibar’s president visits and strengthens ties with South Carolina State University.

• June – S.C. State names a new president, Four Moons restaurant offers a new experience for Orangeburg diners and Community Bankshares announces a merger with First Citizens.

• July – Sunken barges are removed from Ballards Point at Lake Marion. Bamberg County gets a new industry in the former Holland Hitch facility.

• August – Claflin University gets a top ranking by Forbes magazine. County officials announce plans for an industrial park in western Orangeburg County.

• September – Branchville celebrates rebuilding of Branch Junction ahead of the Raylrode Daze Festivul. The junction and the town were devastated by a spring tornado.

• October – A memorial marker is dedicated in memory of the Rev. Daniel M. Minus at Sunnyside Park on Henley Street. The site is believed to be the home of the Colored Public School, which later became the Sterling School.

• November – Jafza provides details of its plans for a $600 million logistics/industrial park. The project has been called “transformational’ for Orangeburg County.

• December – Neeses gets a sheriff’s substation to serve the western portion of Orangeburg County.

• January 2009 – Greyhound makes improvements to the Orangeburg bus station. Bamberg joins other counties in an agreement to share developmental tax revenue.

Obama told the Washington crowd Tuesday the challenges faced by the nation will be met. There is no less commitment locally.

Toward that objective, we submit the region is looking at great opportunity, with particular emphasis on the Global Logistics Triangle bordered by Interstates 26 and 95, and U.S. Highway 301.

Betsy Harter of Port Charleston, a magazine of the South Carolina State Ports Authority, writes in today’s business report about Miller-Valentine Group’s new spec building in the Orangeburg County/City Industrial Park. In her report, she states what the giant commercial real estate company sees for the future:

“Miller-Valentine chose the Orangeburg area for its most recent industrial development for several reasons: a high demand for Class-A multitenant facilities; a concentration of industrial businesses that already reside in Orangeburg and the appeal of the Global Logistics Triangle, which offers close proximity to major highways, ports and an excellent labor force.”

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