Aiken Co. finalizing deal that'll bring new business, jobs

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013

GRANITEVILLE, S.C. (WRDW) -- Ronald Wood is an active member of the Graniteville community.

"In the early 80s, Graniteville Company, at its plants in Aiken County and Augusta, Ga., had somewhere in the neighborhood of 7,300 jobs," Wood says. "Those jobs, those textile jobs, have since evaporated. They're gone."

But things have gotten better. In late 2011, the announcement was made that Bridgestone is expanding to create 850 new jobs. It was the largest investment in state history.

Then MTU, or Tognum America, which builds huge diesel engines, announced it's expanding to the tune of 20 added jobs to its roughly 300.

Now, another manufacturer could be sprouting up nearby.

"The location leads you to believe that it's going to be a supplier for one of the industries that's already a cornerstone in Graniteville," Wood said.

"It makes sense to do those kind of things, so yeah, they're connected in some fashion to somebody that's here," said County Administrator Clay Killian.

Killian can't say much about the project code-named "Project Prosper," but he can say things are looking good. He says the official announcement should be made by the company very soon. Once the council approves some incentives for the company, it should be a done deal, Killian says.

"We're looking at a $14 million investment with 38 jobs," Killian said.

The premise in Sage Mill Industrial Park is if you build it, they will come. There are new roads, a relatively new fire station, fiber-optic cable, water, electricity, natural gas and plenty of space awaiting future growth.

"We've got a park ready for business if people want to come join us," Killian said.

Wood has his fingers crossed they do for the sake of Graniteville.

"New industry is the engine that's going to drive economic recovery and the return of Graniteville," Wood said.

Both Killian and Wood give a lot of credit to Will Williams, director of the Economic Development Partnership of Aiken and Edgefield Counties.

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