News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2011
GRANITEVILLE, S.C. -- Jobs are coming to Aiken County -- 850 of them, to be exact. The big announcement came from Bridgestone in Graniteville Wednesday.
This is biggest one-time investment the state of South Carolina has ever seen. This is what the county has been calling "project Hercules" for months and some think it's living up to its big name.
Lips were sealed until a big tire rolled into Graniteville Wednesday afternoon.
"About five months, all that excitement and all those jobs projections and benefit Aiken County -- it was hard to keep a secret, but you did it, we did it," said Aiken County Council Chairman Ronnie Young.
Leaders say a new plant to produce some very large tires and more expansion to the existing Bridgestone plant means big a impact for our area.
"This Tokyo-based company could have picked anywhere in the country to do this investment; they picked Aiken County, South Carolina -- that says something about South Carolina, that says something about our state," said S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley.
County leaders say they saw this opportunity and went after it.
"It is always exciting for any new project, but this was one that we would kind put our hands around, and we thought we could go after it and win it."
And the county now has a history-making investment at that.
"What Bridgestone has announced today is the single largest investment in South Carolina history -- $1.2 billion," Haley said.
Those who work for Bridgestone locally know how this is really going to impact the community and their jobs.
"I feel a lot of business headed our way, we are going to be really, really busy in having people and getting prepared for what is is about to happen," said Reggie Williams, who works for Bridgestone.
The governor said she is ready to bring more jobs our way.
"Our job is to bring jobs to South Carolina, and we are not going to stop until everyone has got one," Haley said.
Employees at Bridgestone told News 12 they are already getting recruiting campaigns in place to bring these jobs to you.
This all can't happen overnight, but it's moving ahead.
Construction is expected to start next month, and the first phase of the projects should be completed by 2015. The entire project will be completed by 2020. As for jobs those will come in phases, but it will take nine years for all 850 to be here.
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