UNION COUNTY — A loan program instituted by Santee Cooper in 2012 is already financing more than $15 million in economic development projects throughout South Carolina.
On Tuesday, Union City Council voted to support Union County’s entrance into the loan program to secure financing for the construction of a spec building in Commerce Park off U.S. 176. The county is looking to build the spec building to help attract new industry, particularly in the automotive manufacturing sector which has an increasing presence in the Bonham community between U.S. 176 and the Norfolk & Southern Railroad line
Joshua Kay, director of economic development for Santee Cooper, said that construction of spec buildings is one of the purposes the utility’s company’s $25 million loan program is designed to facilitate.
“The loan program is for economic development purposes, especially construction of speculative buildings, acquisition of land for industrial parks, for expansion or improvement of utilities for industrial purposes,” Kay said Thursday. “Santee Cooper exists to improve the quality of life for all South Carolina citizens. We believe this loan program will assist local entities in doing this through economic development.”
Kay said the loan program was approved by Santee Cooper’s board of directors for “direct service entities,” a category he said the City of Union falls under due to their membership in the Piedmont Municipal Power Association. The county is not a member of PMPA and so the resolution passed by city council was necessary for it to enter the loan program.
Molly Gore, manager of corporate communications for Santee Cooper, said a number of counties and cities are already benefitting from the program.
“The program is almost 15 months old, we initiated it in the spring of 2012,” Gore said. “So far it has approved $15.5 million in economic development loans that go to build infrastructure. The counties that we’re helping build are Dorchester, Newberry, Laurens, Fairfield, Horry, the City of Greer, Anderson, and Dillon.”
Gore reiterated that the purpose of the loan program is to help local communities attract industry which she said not only benefits those communities but South Carolina as a whole.
“We’re working with local entities, they could be development boards, elecric coopertives, and local governments,” Gore said. “We’re working with them to build product that helps them bring in new industry.
“We’re pleased that this has taken off,” she said. “We’re really excited about the opportunities it has for South Carolina.”
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.