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Now that a major textile manufacturer has formally announced its plans to move to Indian Land, officials have secured a grant to help with infrastructure upgrades at no cost to the county.
County Administrator Steve Willis and Lancaster County Economic Development Corp. President Keith Tunnell discussed the Economic Development Authority (EDA) grant during Lancaster County Council’s meeting on March 24.
Willis said the grant, which is issued through the U.S. Department of Commerce, will provide $1,825,000 in federal funding to help make improvements to the area around the future site of Keer Group, a Chinese industrial cotton yarn manufacturer.
The company, which was known only by its code name “Project Vino” until December 2013, has promised to invest $218 million and create 501 jobs in the county within five years.
As part of that plan, Keer is planning to construct a 230,000-square-foot manufacturing facility on a 140-acre tract of land along Old Bailes Road in Indian Land.
Willis said the Lancaster County Water and Sewer District will be the applicant of record and recipient of the funds from the EDA grant.
There are two components to the grant, he said, the first of which is to improve water and sewer lines in the area to support Keer.
“Needless to say with a plot that size, it’s going to be a big pipe,” Willis said about the size of infrastructure needed to support the new company.
The second portion of the grant funds road improvements to three-lane a stretch of Old Bailes Road from Fort Mill Highway (S.C. 160) to Old Yarborough Road.
This will include one lane in each direction, with a median and turn lanes in the middle.
In order to begin the process, the county had to accept that road into its county road system. It was formerly maintained by the S.C. Department of Transportation.
Willis said the grant has been approved and Tunnell has raised all of the required local matching funds from various public and private resources. As such, no county funding is required and no local grant match is needed.
“There are no county funds involved,” Willis said. “Sometimes companies can use some of their funds to offset their taxes and that’s what happened here.”
Tunnell told council the funding will eventually benefit the entirety of the business park.
“This will take care of not only Keer, but the other projects there as well,” Tunnell said.
Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at (803) 416-8416