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Good Economic News on the Horizon for Union County

Daniel Prince

Investment and jobs reported to be one of the largest in county's history

At Tuesday’s Union County Council meeting, council unanimously passed first reading, in title only, of a fee-in-lieu-of-tax agreement for Project Vidar, as well as the first reading on a joint county industrial and business park. The new business park would be developed in conjunction with Spartanburg County but would be located in Union County. A written park agreement with Spartanburg County would be part of it, where Spartanburg would receive a percentage of the fee and would help share some of the costs of the park. In his report, Supervisor Frank Hart stated that if this project comes through, it may well be the largest new project we’ve had in the county. Dolton Williams said it would certainly be the largest in the last 12 years. Hart said the potential was for hundreds of jobs to be created and over $100 million in new investment. The identity of the company involved in the project will be kept secret until sometime after the third readings of the ordinances.

They also unanimously passed third and final reading of the county burn ordinance.

In other news from the meeting, Dr. Dora Lynn Jones with the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Spartanburg spoke to council about a grant the organization received to help with education efforts related to the COVID vaccine. She said they were at USC Union at the beginning of the month, and they brought out a taco truck and had college students and community members stop by to talk about some of the questions they had about the vaccine. She said around 25 people were vaccinated at the event. Jones stated that they would be in the Town of Carlisle this Friday doing a similar event at Thomas Chapel AME Church. They will be there from 9-2 at the church at 1326 Tinker Creek Road. In addition to education efforts, COVID vaccines will be offered to anyone ages 5 and older, and flu shots will also be available to those ages 19 and older.

Steve Stone updated council on some of the coon hunting events they have had this past year. He stated they have expanded from two events to five this year. Some of the things they used to do during the December event were moved to a separate event in September, which they put on in conjunction with the Show & Shine Car Club and the Union County Tourism Commission. He said by spreading out some of the activities, you do lose some of the crowd, but you also keep more of the crowd in Union County. He said with the largest events, there has been a large amount of what he called “spillage”—people coming to the event in Union but staying somewhere out of town, sometimes as far away as in Greenwood County. He said they made the business decision to try and limit as much of the spillage as possible to bring the biggest impact to Union County that they could. He said they are working with the fair to bring a BBQ event to the spring fair event next year. He also said they have been contacted by the Squirrel Association to bring a World Squirrel Hunt to Union on January 31 and February 1. He said partnerships are key in growing these events, and he estimates around 2300 people have come into Union from out of town to attend these events. He said he would be back sometime in the spring with a year-end recap and more specific numbers.

Council voted to fill a vacant position at the Timken Sports Complex/Recreation Department and an Equipment Operator 1 position in Public Works.

The UPS system that had been approved for the IT Department came in $2240 higher than the original quoted estimate. Council voted to cover the difference with bond proceeds.

Council approved the low bidder, Satchel Construction, to do the work on the Wells Fargo building upfit. Hart said their bid came in at $198,490, while the high bid was around $353,000. The second-lowest bid was by Raby Construction in Greenville, who won the bid on the South State Bank renovation project. There was some discussion as to whether to go with them since their people and equipment were already in town and in place, but on a 4-1 vote with Dr. Flood opposed, the bid went to Satchel.

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