Vocal crowds may have stretched out the latest Anderson County Council meeting with concerns over a countywide mask ordinance and relocation of a Confederate monument, but the council made headway on the budget and several economic development projects.
The county’s proposed budget was passed unanimously by all councilmembers except Gracie Floyd who, despite being live-streamed into the meeting due to concerns about COVID-19, was not able to vote due to her physical absence.
The total $83.8 million general budget includes $27 million for county administration, $39.9 million for public safety and $9.6 million for public works, stemming from an expected $45.5 million in revenue from the special revenue fund. Capital project allocations included $1.5 million for the County’s Green Pond Landing Event Center, $9.4 million for a general obligation bond from 2019 and $2.7 million for general economic development.
The council also approved a lease agreement that opens a county facility at 1428 Pearman Dairy Road for county startup and economic development projects — which was also passed unanimously. Allocations in the budget set aside $885,000 for the development.
“We have all 130,000 square feet right now taken by several incubator projects, and we should have announcements on those shortly,” Burriss Nelson, economic development director for Anderson County, said at the meeting. Additional projects are in the works for 2021 at the space, he said, while thanking the council for its continued support.
Plans to expand Anderson and Greenville counties’ joint industrial and business park, Project Unity Gateway, and the execution of a fee agreement between Anderson County and BMW Manufacturing for the benefit of the company’s suppliers in the county received a second reading.
Project Unity Gateway includes a mixed-use development slated for the juncture of W. Washington and Academy streets in Greenville. The first $75 million phase is set to include a 262-unit multifamily residential housing complex including 52 units of affordable and workforce housing. The project will also include upgrades to 60,000 square feet of an existing office building, according to an original report, followed by a $35 million hotel, retail and office complex to be used by the county in later stages of the project.
BMW suppliers located in Anderson covered by the fee-in-lieu of tax agreement between the company and the county include Champion Tooling and Machining, Clarion Technologies, Drake Products Corp., Euwe Eugen Wexler US, Fraenkische Industrial Pipes, Inergy Automotive Systems, Mergon, Pack IQ, Plastic Omnium, Proper Mold, Proper Polymers and Roylco Inc.
The council also approved of the first reading of a sublease agreement allowing for the development of a recreational attraction at the Asbury Park Site on Lake Hartwell, as well as fee-in-lieu of tax agreements with two incoming economic development projects, known at this time as Project Underwood and Project Malibu.
Under the purview of the Lake Hartwell Development Group, the Asbury Park project called The Shores of Asbury will bring yurts, tree houses, water park and camping to the lake’s shores, according to Nelson. A groundbreaking for the project was held Nov. 9.
“This is just the beginning of a long process,” Nelson said, adding that the project has been in the works for three years.s