By Stan Welch
Richard Greer, of Upstate Investors, expressed some concerns in a recent telephone interview, about an article and a personal column that appeared in the Journal recently. He also provided additional information about the events that were reported in the article and opined about in the personal column.
The article dealt with a special called meeting by the Pelzer Town Council almost three weeks ago at which they voted to employ Goldie and Associates on a four month trial basis to review their water and sewer operations. The column, written by this reporter, expressed concerns about the way the meeting was conducted and the manner in which it appeared the engineering firm was employed.
Greer acknowledged that the events of that Friday, June 1, could have led one to some of the possibilities mentioned in the column, but went on to explain that his interest in the town’s success is tied directly to the importance of that success to that of his company’s projects on Pelzer Heritage Commission (PHC) lands. “I have been working with the PHC for almost a year now. I feel sort of like I am an adopted son in Pelzer,” Greer said. “I saw that the town needed a lot more information about the possible deal with ReWa, so I offered to advise them. I had worked with Steve Goldie on another totally unrelated project and thought they would be a good choice for the town to work with.”
Greer pointed out that a well run public works system is essential to drawing the kind of investment he is seeking to bring to the town.
But beyond that scope, he also believes that the town and its leadership need to bring in some professionals with experience in small town administration. “They don’t need anyone full time; indeed, they can’t afford that. But they do need some periodic expert advice. For one thing, they need to pass some ordinances and resolve some issues. Investors look at things like that.”
Greer stated that a piece of legislation, intended to restore tax credits for investing in old mill sites that were first established in 1976, is expected to pass into law in the coming weeks. The law, if passed and signed, will restore an investor’s ability to utilize a much larger portion of a given site, making investment more attractive. Adding to that incentive, the environmental efforts by the PHC make Pelzer even more attractive.
Greer also stated that, in light of Pelzer’s unusual inability to establish a tax base, prospective investors have been asked to consider a fee system that will help the town pay for various services. “So far, most of the clients, being business people themselves, understand the situation,” he said.
Greer also confirmed that his investor group has a solid commitment to a major project to be located at the lower mill site. He declined to name the investor at this time; but assures a public announcement in the coming weeks.
One fly in the pudding is the SCDOT’s refusal to allow entrance to the site from either Lebby or Courtney streets, forcing the use of Murray Street as the entryway. Asked whether Pelzer Mayor Roger Scott owns the land whose purchase appears necessary to establish the entryway, Greer said he does not, but that a family member does.
“We are looking for a way to handle this situation with complete transparency, in such a way as to assure the public that the entire transaction is above board, Greer said.
By Stan Welch