October 6, 2017
The Economic Development Partnership helped facilitate $151 million in new capital investments and 311 jobs in Aiken and Edgefield counties over the past year, said EDP President and CEO Will Williams at the organization’s annual meeting Thursday afternoon.
EDP is a nonprofit public-private corporation that serves the needs of new and existing businesses in Aiken, Edgefield, Saluda and McCormick counties.
At the meeting, EDP Board of Directors Chairman Gary Stooksbury said McCormick County was added to the list July 1 and said it helps EDP as a regional alliance, adding the state appreciates alliances like the one EDP has as opposed to individual counties.
“We’re very excited that McCormick has come into the fold, and hopefully we can add value to their investment,” Stooksbury said.
Williams said during the meeting that this is the organization’s 33rd year and that EDP continually ranks in the top 20s in the state of South Carolina in new capital investments and jobs created.
Williams mentioned the MTU solar field in Graniteville that was unveiled in August and the benefits of solar energy, such as increased tax revenue and environmental benefits.
“This is our region’s next cash crop right here,” Williams said.
“We’re going to be growing these solar fields more, and they’re win-wins for everybody. They take fallow land that’s paying limited amounts of money in property taxes, and adding substantially to the tax revenue of each of our counties,” he said.
Williams also talked about the growing emphasis on cyber activity “across the river” and said that 66 percent of the U.S. Army construction budget was being used at Fort Gordon.
Williams said they have been working closely with the City of North Augusta, making visits to potential contractors at Fort Gordon.
“We’re trying to branch out from just traditional manufacturing – even though manufacturing does pay the lion’s share of taxes and helps us all and creates jobs – there are other ways to help us grow our communities and make them better,” he said.