By Stan Welch
The Anderson County Council heard an update of the Appalachian Council of Government’s (ACOG) comprehensive economic development strategy (CEDS) Tuesday night, preparatory to issuing the obligatory letter of support for the group’s efforts.
The periodic review offered little in the way of new information, basking instead in the recent success in the area of job creation and attraction of new industries across the Upstate in recent months.
David Shellhorse, ACOG’s head of economic development systems, mentioned the various specific areas that the strategy focuses on, including automotive, infrastructure, work force, available sites, entrepeneurship, and the recently added area of global competitiveness.
He pointed out that the establishment of an inland port facility in the Spartanburg area last year has enhanced the global competitiveness aspect of the strategy. That inland port enjoys both a favored status as both a destination for incoming goods and a departure point for goods headed overseas.
Shellhorse reminded the Council that the CEDS is a key element in the organization and its members being competitive for federal funding for various projects. Councilwoman Cindy Wilson seconded that idea, referring to the recent acceleration of funding for much needed improvement to the Highway 29 corridor, including elevating some bridges and overpasses.
Following Shellhorse’s presentation and comments by each of the Council members, the letter of support was provided.
In other business, the Council gave final approval to an economic incentive package for Glen Raven Custom Fabrics, LLC in regards to their proposed expansion. The company, a corporate presence in Anderson County for decades, is planning a major expansion of their physical plant, as well as an increase in the work force. The package approved was a standard combination of a fee in lieu of taxes agreement, along with a special source revenue bond to address an unexpected infrastructure issue on the expansion site.
Second reading approval of a similar package for a project known as Project Wolf was also passed; as well as first reading approval for such a package for a new project, project Haven.
Council is also in the early stages of addressing the robust success of the East West Parkway as a greenspace, and not just a thoroughfare. Since it opened approximately a year ago, the use of the walkways and other natural areas by pedestrian and bicycle traffic is causing some parking issues. Council is considering two proposals.
One would involve the simple placement of parking spaces in an existing defunct roadbed at the intersection of the Parkway and King’s Road. According to information provided to the Council, that approach would require no cooperation from Duke Energy, which owns the surrounding land, and would cost approximately $30,000.
A more extensive proposal, both of which are very sketchy and preliminary at this time, could involve the construction of a park adjacent to the roadbed. That would require a long term lease arrangement with Duke Energy. The Council authorized the staff to begin putting together a plan for their review.