By Stan Welch
Anderson County Administrator Rusty Burns spoke to the local civic and political group First Monday this week, giving a combination review and preview of the county’s activities in the past and coming months.
The event, which is held at an Anderson restaurant each month, and which attracts various civic and political personages, was attended by various state and county officials. State Representatives Anne Thayer and Brian White were on hand, along with Council members Tom Allen and Cindy Wilson.
Susan Aiken, one of the group’s founders, began the presentation by commenting on a number of tragic circumstances in the state this year, including the historic flooding across the state and the killing of nine people in a Charleston church earlier this year. “We have been through some hard times this year, but as South Carolinians and Americans, we have stuck together and worked together. We all know that we still live in the greatest country in the world.”
While touting the county’s efforts to improve all areas of the county, Burns nonetheless mentioned a number of developments and upcoming actions that will definitely impact the Journal’s readership area.
“There are a couple of major industrial developments in the area, like the TTI (Ryobi) distribution center, in the Betsy Tucker industrial site, and the Coca Cola distribution center, in the Powdersville area, which has already increased its projected size. During the last year, Anderson County has attracted four hundred fifty new jobs and more than 104 million dollars in capital investment” said Burns.
Extended back to 2009 those figures balloon to more than 3800jobs and $2.8 billion in investment.
Burns also addressed the County’s plans to purchase and establish a 225 acre industrial park in the Sandy Springs area. The park will not only attract industry but will include a Tri County Technical College campus, to facilitate training people for the specific work forces required by those potential employers. Councilman Tom Allen spoke briefly to reinforce the importance of such a diverse and specifically trained work force, saying that potential clients often about the availability of trained workers.
Burns also explained that the county has received more than two million dollars in grant funds, with much of that money being funneled through the Pelzer Heritage Commission as a tax exempt organization partnering with the county. Those funds are slated to be used in demolishing more than eighty dilapidated homes in 11 target areas across the county.
He touted the county’s recent negotiations to surrender some of its sewer capacity to the town of Pendleton in order to make possible a huge residential development which, according to him, will practically double the footprint of the town. “The anticipated increase in the tax base will make a great deal of growth and progress possible in that area.”
He also referred to a study of the county’s emergency medical services which is slated to begin in a couple of weeks. “We are seeking to find the best way to provide those medical services. Many people complain about the locations of various EMS units and rescue squads. They refer to the school districts as a possible model. But when the five school districts in Anderson were established, each one held exactly the same population, just over 28,000 people. The problem is that those darn people just wouldn’t stay put. And that is the same thing that has happened in the area of EMS services. We simply may have to relocate some of those units to provide the best service. That remains to be seen, but the study will begin soon.”