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News 12 at 6 o'clock; July 17, 2009
AIKEN CTY, S.C. --- A new plant specializing in making police cars, built from the ground up with a world first design, could be coming to Aiken County. If it does, it would mean 10,000 jobs across the country with about 1,300 jobs for Aiken County.
Carbon Motors says Aiken County is competing with the Greenville/Spartanburg area, along with Connersville, Indiana and Braselton, Georgia.
Just the thought of jobs coming to Aiken County, specifically the Graniteville area at Sage Mill Industrial Park, is getting a lot of people excited.
Quinney Bederscheck has seen the rise and the fall of Graniteville, living through the '05 train wreck.
"I'd be happy to see Graniteville come back alive," he says. Now, that is a real possibility with this new plant considering Aiken County as their top choice.
"It would be a place worth living at," he adds.
'It would be a huge deal," says State Senator Shane Massey. He's been working hard, along with other leaders, to push Carbon Motors to choose Aiken County as its new home.
"The overall picture we have is, really very appealing I think," says Sen. Massey. That is thanks to the good people, lifestyle and an educated work-force, along with other things in the county. Yet, he knows attracting any new businesses to Aiken County is tough because the closest international airport is hours away. But he says having I-20 close and easy access to Charlotte or Atlanta, along with the seaport in Charleston are big attractions.
The company says there really isn't anything Sen. Massey or others can do at this point to say Aiken County is the best location of the 4. But, you never know. "If they are going to make one more visit to Aiken County, I'm going to clear my schedule. I'll go make the time, do whatever I have to do," says Sen. Massey.
That's exactly what Melissa Wright wants to hear, too. She is the manager at Gary's Hamburger's, which is just a few miles from the park. "It would be great," she says. "It would help us a whole bunch because we just opened up, that would give us good business. It would be more than we can handle, but we'll make it work!"
The way to make it work: "I would need to hire some more people."
"If they want to come here, we'll furnish the labor," says Quinney. "We got a lot of people here that want to work."
A town devastated by a disaster that could soon be turning around.
As for a decision, the company says it could come as early as the end of July or as late as the end of the summer.
They go through 400 items to decide where to have their new plant. They did tell us at least 1 of the locations already has a building in place. Right now, Aiken County's location does not. But, we're told that should not be a big issue because they would work from a satellite location until the building is complete.
We're also told as soon as a location is announced the hiring process will immediately begin.
Of course, we'll keep you posted as new details become available.