Is It Finished?
The most asked questions to me as mayor by the people of Clinton are: “Is it finished? When will it be finished?” What began as an eight-person delegation from Laurens County to Washington, D.C., to ask for federal funding in February 2006 is what “it” is. The delegation returned to Laurens County with $2.24 million for the construction of “it’. Sam Bennett, the city manager of Clinton at that time, said “it” would be open up 400 acres for much needed development in Clinton. Construction of the first 1,000 feet was to begin in January of 2009 and the remaining 4,700 feet was to be completed by July of 2010. It is now March of 2016, and I believe I can say that “it” is finally finished! It needs stripping of the pavement and some cosmetic clean up, but “it” is finished. By now, you have probably guessed what “it” is. “It” happens to be the frontage road, now named West Corporate Center Drive, connecting Hwy. 56 and Hwy. 72 along Interstate 26 I honestly cannot tell you what all the delays were or who was responsible for the delays. I only know the project took about six years too long to complete. The good news is not only is the road finished, but also the water lines, sewer lines and all electrical are in place and ready for development. City Council has hired an engineering firm to design a five-acre site along the frontage road for development. The engineering and construction of this site will be paid for by a grant and not our citizen’s money. A new restaurant has already closed on a piece of property on Highway 72 and Interstate 26. We hope for a ground breaking on this new restaurant in the near future. The city has a grading contract currently put out for bid to develop a 100,000 sq. ft. pad for economic development. This pad will also be paid for by grant money. The Department of Commerce states that 80% of all manufacturing prospects look first for an existing building. At present time, the city does not have any existing buildings to offer. This knocks us out of the running for 80% of new locations for industry. We have no building to sale at this time. There is only one available building in Laurens County and it is in Fountain Inn. The city is currently investigating the building of a spec building so we can at least be in the game when it comes to economic development. As a business owner, I know you cannot sell what you don’t have to sell. The city also hired Marvin Moss this year to market the City of Clinton not only in the United States but throughout the world. He is in the process of developing a website to market our city along with establishing a presence in the South Carolina Department of Commerce magazine which is given to every prospect that may inquire about establishing a presence in our state. Marvin is also working on securing grants to help pay for these projects and working with private developers that may have an interest in Clinton. A lot of things have happened over the past year to improve our local economy. Are any of the developments mentioned a guarantee of success? There are no guarantees when it comes to economic development, unless you do nothing and the results will reflect that you did nothing. Council has taken some major steps in the right direction, and I believe the future will reward us for our efforts. (Bob McLean is mayor of Clinton.)