LCDC will help in relocating 100 out-of-work employees

D55 Superintendent tells board: "Adults are bullying adults" into not supporting a new Laurens High School
If (retired superintendent) Billy Strickland was up here saying, 'We need a new school,' we would have people out there with shovels." - D55 Superintendent Dr. Stephen Peters, beginning his second academic year leading Laurens area school, part of his 37-year public education career

A Fountain Inn industry's closing will put 100 people out of work. The Laurens County economic development agency will work to get them re-located, perhaps to ZF Transmissions which has 200 jobs vacant right now.

The Laurens County Development Corporation's board was told today about Fisher Barton. LCDC Executive Director Jon Coleman said the move will give the economic development agency a 75,000 sq ft building to market - in one of South Carolina's hottest industrial areas, the Greenville-Simpsonville-Gray Court area. Fisher Barton is a precision metal stamping and metal fabrication business.

After GE Renewable Energy leased a spec building near Clinton, Laurens County has no vacant, immediately available building to offer to industrial prospects.

Laurens CPW plans for a spec building in the Hunter Industrial Park. Coleman said in 10 of the 37 cases so far this year where industries have asked for information, Laurens County had "to pass" because the prospect wanted a move-in-ready building. Some building requests were simply too large for most communities to handle - Newberry County was an exception, with a 1-million-sg-ft building that was vacated by Caterpillar - which now will be home to Samsung home appliances.

Coleman said with GE occupying the Clinton spec building and Birdseye Energy announcing a solar power farm in Joanna, Laurens County has $125 million in investment and 122 new jobs for this time in 2017 - above the figures for 2016 and 2015.

The LCDC board also heard a presentation from District 55 Superintendent Dr. Stephen Peters. "If economic development is important," he said,"you can't do it without quality school districts."

Peters said on Aug. 1, at 6 pm in The Ridge, Laurens, a kickoff rally will be held by proponents of Laurens 55's proposed $109M school bond referendum. "You've been seeing 'Vote No' signs - now it's time for 'Vote Yes,'" the superintendent said.

Peters said many supporters of Laurens 55 and the proposal to build a new Laurens High School are "being bullied" into keeping their support quiet. "In this room, we worked on an anti-bullying campaign," Peters said of Laurens County Chamber of Commerce building conference room where the LCDC board meets. "When adults are bullying adults, what do we expect our children will do?"

The school board referendum (District 56, Clinton-Joanna residents are not eligible to vote) will be Sept. 5. More on Peters' talk to the LCDC board will be in the Aug. 2 Clinton Chronicle.

RELATED, more about Fisher Barton:


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