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Claflin receives $548,000 grant; money will help with economic development

Claflin University has received a $548,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s University Center Economic Development Program.

The grant will allow the university to launch a University Center, which will work closely with the region’s rural and underserved minority populations that have limited access to economic and business development resources and regional commercialization efforts.

“Claflin University will take a leadership role in the economic development in our region. We will become drivers of economic growth by actively engaging the community,” said Dr. John Jasina, associate professor of economics and Presidential Fellow at Claflin University.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration’s program aims to enable colleges and universities to establish and operate University Centers to leverage university assets and build regional economic ecosystems that support innovation, high-growth entrepreneurship, resiliency and inclusiveness.

The EDA is one of several multi-agency initiatives supported by the U.S. Department of Economic Development.

The total investment is $1,096,180. Claflin will be awarded $109,618 per year for five years.

The Claflin University EDA University Center will support commercialization efforts, high-growth entrepreneurship, workforce development and business expansion, as well as cultivate innovation in Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Colleton, Hampton, Jasper and Orangeburg counties.

Jasina and Dr. Nicholas Hill, dean of Claflin’s School of Business and professor of economics, are the grant’s co-principal investigators. Jasina will also serve as the director of Claflin’s University Center.

“Claflin faculty and students will provide cutting-edge research to promote growth and prosperity to those who need it most. The University Center will utilize its expertise in applied economics to assist public and private sector leaders in understanding the factors that lead to local and regional economic growth and identify effective policies that contribute to economic growth. We want to enhance the performance of entrepreneurs by increasing their critical thinking and quantitative analysis skills,” Jasina said.

The University Center will work closely with entrepreneurs to conduct research that will include regional economic analysis, economic impact analysis, labor and strategies to expand economic and workforce development.

The center will provide technical assistance to small businesses in the region, empowering regional entrepreneurs to become engines for economic growth in their communities.

“We plan to create a business development curriculum that will teach entrepreneurs how to operate in a formal economy,” Jasina said. “It will also teach them how to increase capacity and growth through innovation in domestic and global markets.”

Holly Hill airport lands ‘Outer Banks’; Netflix teen drama films in area

HOLLY HILL – The Holly Hill area welcomed a popular Netflix teen drama on Tuesday, with the “Outer Banks” crew filming at Larry Gardner Field at the Holly Hill Airport.

“Every exposure we can get is great!” Holly Hill Mayor Billy Chavis said.

Crews were working at the airport from early in the morning until late at night Tuesday.

They were filming season three of “Outer Banks,” a reference to the barrier islands of North Carolina.

Each episode of Outer Banks is centered on the storyline: “On an island of haves and have-nots, teen John B. enlists his three best friends to hunt for a legendary treasure linked to his father’s disappearance,” according to its official description on the Netflix website.

The series’ first season aired in 2020. It stars Chase Stokes, Madelyn Cline and Madison Bailey, among others. It’s created by Josh Pate, Jonas Pate and Shannon Burke.

Harrison Katz, assistant to producer Carole Peterman of Narrow Isle Productions, said the Holly Hill location best matched the storywriters’ descriptions.

“We take what’s on the script and try to find places that match what the writers write,” Katz said.

“And that’s how we landed on that one,” he said about Holly Hill.

What attracted directors to the airport and field was the grass landing strip with trees lining both sides, Katz said.

Featured at Tuesday’s filming was a Skyvan aircraft, Katz said.

It was difficult to get the aircraft reserved for filming opportunities, he said.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the 1982-built Short Brothers SC-7-3A model is the only model registered in the United States.

It’s a fixed-wing double-engine aircraft that seats 20 people.

The Skyvan is noted for its boxy construction.

Katz said the script called for a 1970s style Skyvan.

He noted the planes are often associated with skydiving, military uses and transporting cargo.

Early Monday morning, Kimmie Stewart Casting, the agency working to hire extra cast members for Outer Banks, posted on social media that they were seeking individuals for the roles of a South American worker (Latino males ages 25 and up) and South American locals (Latin Americans of any gender ages 18 and up).

The grassy parking area in front of Solid Rock International Ministries church, located at 9007 Old State Road, just outside of the town limits, was full of cars, trucks and travel RVs for cast and crew all day on Tuesday.

Vans shuttled cast and crew to and from the airport, just a short distance away, throughout the day and night on Tuesday.

Chavis said he appreciates the kindness of the church’s pastor, Bishop Donald Howell.

A month ago, Carolina Film Alliance President Linda Lee visited Holly Hill “to do some scouting” for possible film recording locations, Chavis said. Then this past Thursday, the CFA called saying it needed the town’s help.

Chavis said the town acted quickly to work out legal details in time for filming at the first of this week.

He said there were approximately 120 to 130 crew members on hand for Tuesday’s filming.

“It’s about hospitality,” Chavis said.

DP World Announces the completion of the First Industrial Building at SC Gateway Logistics Park

DP World (DPW), a global logistics company and one of the world’s largest
marine terminal operators, announced the inaugural industrial building located in the 1300+ acre development in
Orangeburg County, South Carolina. The building marks a milestone with the continued partnership with Orangeburg
County and State of South Carolina for the continued economic development of the planned 6+ million square feet
industrial park.

The South Carolina Gateway Logistics Park is centrally located at the intersection of Highway 301 & Interstate 95 between
Charleston and Columbia. The logistics park offers users a strategic, inland and rail-served platform with close port
proximity for industrial development. Opportunities for build-to-suit ranging in size from 50,000 sf to 1+ million sf, the
park provides flexible solutions for both large and mid-size users.

DPW has been working closely with Orangeburg County throughout the course of the project to ensure the logistics park
meets the needs of the end users, is fully integrated and benefits the surrounding communities. In particular, the property
will be placed in a multi-county industrial park shared by Orangeburg and Dorchester Counties, providing the opportunity
for enhanced tax credits for tenants locating in the park. DPW anticipates this process to be completed in the coming

At the South Carolina Gateway Logistics Park today, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO, DP World, said
“It is with great pride that we open the Gateway Logistics Park for business today and celebrate a long term investment
that is estimate to bring more than $500 million into the economy. The collaboration with Orangeburg County and the
State of South Carolina has been a model of the kind of economic development that public and private partnerships can
create when the greater good is at the center. This expansive site is full of potential economic opportunity for South
Carolina including two-thousand jobs and local tax revenues upward of $10 million.”

Chairman Sulayem was joined in Orangeburg by DP World’s Americas CEO Matt Leech who added, “DP World is using its
expertise in smart logistics solutions to enable the flow of trade across the globe. Combined with our 2021 acquisition of
syncreon, the South Carolina Gateway Logistics Park, is part of DP World’s broader vision to become a driving force in
helping more U.S. businesses face the evolving supply chain and logistics challenges that are causing turmoil in the post
pandemic economy.”

In 2021, Premium Peanut, from Douglas, Gerorgia signed an agreement with DPW to purchase a 42+ acre tract in the
Gateway Logistics Park. The company is investing $64 million to build the most technologically advanced peanut shelling
operation in the world. In addition to an estimated 130 local jobs, the new operation will provide additional local capacity
allowing South Carolina peanut growers the opportunity to be a part of a cooperative model of continued economic

DPW executives were joined at today’s event by South Carolina state and local government officials and economic
development organizations.

W. Keller Kissam, Chairman, Central South Carolina Alliance, commented, “Ready product is a crucial component in landing
projects with companies that rank speed to market as a priority on their wish list. We’re excited to see the opportunities
that this speculative building will provide in the Orangeburg market, as well as the attraction of prospecting businesses
that it draws from around the globe.”

In marking the County milestone, Orangeburg County Council Chairman Johnnie Wright Sr. added, “We are grateful about
the partnership with DP World, making it a Great Day in Orangeburg County! Leveraging this facility at SC Gateway’s
Logistics Park is validation to our location and robust utility network.”

Follow DP World on:

About DP World
We are the leading provider of worldwide smart end-to-end supply chain logistics, enabling the flow of trade across the
globe. Our comprehensive range of products and services covers every link of the integrated supply chain – from maritime
and inland terminals to marine services and industrial parks as well as technology-driven customer solutions. We deliver
these services through an interconnected global network of 181 business units in 64 countries across six continents, with
a significant presence both in high-growth and mature markets. Wherever we operate, we integrate sustainability and
responsible corporate citizenship into our activities, striving for a positive contribution to the economies and communities
where we live and work. Our dedicated, diverse and professional team of more than 56,000 employees
from 140 nationalities are committed to delivering unrivalled value to our customers and partners. We do this by focusing
on mutually beneficial relationships – with governments, shippers, traders, and other stakeholders along the global supply
chain – relationships built on a foundation of mutual trust and enduring partnership. We think ahead, anticipate change
and deploy industry-leading digital technology to further broaden our vision to disrupt world trade and create the
smartest, most efficient and innovative solutions, while ensuring a positive and sustainable impact on economies, societies
and our planet.

Media Contacts:
George Nolan
Hakam Kherallah, Int’l Media Relations Manager
DP World
Tel: +971 50 552 2610
Local Economic Development Contact:
Gregg Robinson, SCCED, Executive Director
Orangeburg County Development Commission
Tel: 803-536-3333

DP World planning for future of Santee park

DP World Americas plans to develop parcels at its 1,322-acre “South Carolina Gateway” Industrial Park in Santee for the placement of speculative buildings.

Orangeburg County Council agreed Monday to provide DP World with financial incentives to develop parcels for future buildings.

Council gave unanimous first reading to an ordinance placing the parcels into a multi-county industrial/business park with Dorchester County.

The multi-county park is an incentive mechanism designed to encourage economic development.

Orangeburg County attorney Jerrod Anderson said the company wants the multicounty industrial park designation “to woo lessors to the county to lease and do business in the county.”

Two pads have been built at the site to house future speculative buildings.

One pad is on a 22-acre site and will house a 250,000-square-foot speculative building.

The other pad is on a 20-acre site and will house a 125,000-square-foot speculative building, according to the project’s website.

The 125,000-square-foot building will be an expandable Class A structure with tilt walls that can be subdivided for smaller users.

The park’s master plan projects upwards of 6.5 million square feet of building space.

About 350 acres are currently available for sale or built-to-suit development at DP World Americas. According to an OCDC flyer, about 806 acres of the site can be developed.

Project officials say the park can handle industrial, warehousing, manufacturing and ancillary services.

DP World America’s plans are just the latest movement at the park.

Georgia-based shelling company Premium Peanut announced that it plans to invest $64 million in the park and to bring 130 new jobs to the area over the next five years.

The investment will include $27.5 million in buildings and $36.8 million in equipment. The company will occupy about 42 acres.

The DP World Americas site has power through Tri-County Electric Cooperative, natural gas from Dominion, water from the Lake Marion Regional Water System, sewer service from Orangeburg County/Santee, telecommunications through Verizon and Frontier and fire protection from the Santee Fire Service and Orangeburg County Fire Service.

The site also has access to CSX rail.

The property is also certified by the S.C. Department of Commerce, meaning that substantial wetlands, environmental, geotechnical and archaeological studies have been performed.

Orangeburg County continuing broadband expansion

Orangeburg County Council Tuesday unanimously approved continuing to extend its broadband infrastructure throughout the county.

The council voted to spend $3,333,865 for the first phase of the broadband extension. The company doing the work will be Columbia-based Utility Service Contractors Inc.

The county also approved engaging with Missouri-based Graybar for $1,482,146 for the second phase of the broadband project.

The monies are a part of a $13.5 million U.S. Department of Agriculture ReConnect Program grant the county received that covers Cope, Felderville, portions of Santee, Neeses and North.

Phase 1 is eastern Orangeburg with a targeted completion by the end of the year, though there could be delays due to supply-chain issues.

Phase 2 is in western Orangeburg. Phase 2 should be completed by mid-year 2023.

Council also unanimously approved engaging St. Matthews-based Porth Construction for $3,496,190 to build the SC Gateway pump station and make sanitary sewer improvements.

The project, which is expected to be complete by year’s end, will help connect the 1,322-acre South Carolina Gateway Industrial Park (formerly JAFZA Magna Park in Santee) to the county’s wastewater system.

In other matters, council gave unanimous first reading to provide a fee-in-lieu-of-tax incentive to a company publicly being identified under the name Project Stallion. Typically, projects are not publicly identified until deals are finalized.

The company is planning to invest $17.6 million and create 30 new jobs in Orangeburg County. The investment includes $6.5 million in buildings and $11.1 million in machinery and equipment.

The company is planning to locate in the former Mayer Industries building at 3777 Industrial Boulevard. Industrial Boulevard is near Interstate 26’s Exit 145.

The company will also request the project be placed in a multicounty industrial park with Dorchester County. A joint multicounty industrial park is not a physical park but an incentive mechanism for a company.

Council also unanimously approved a resolution accepting a grant to help fund Orangeburg County sheriff’s officers to serve as school resource officers for the Orangeburg County School District.

In January, the OCSD received a six-month school resource officer grant from the S.C. Department of Public Safety. Under the $568,692 grant, six school resource officers will be funded through June 30 of this year.

The grant will bring SROs to Holly Hill-Roberts Middle School, Elloree K-8, Marshall Elementary School, the Cope Area Career Center, the Orangeburg Technology Center and the Lake Marion High School Technology Center.

The SROs could be placed in other schools if needed.

The grant will pay for salaries, equipment, training and vehicles.

It is renewable for five years and would total about $3.5 million over five years, if desired.

The district plans to apply for a renewal for an additional year running from July 1 through June 30, 2023.

The district currently has 10 SROs.

Council also gave unanimous first reading to an exchange of property with the county school district for possible future needs.

Young explained the county has a piece of property off Red Bank Road near U.S. 601 that could be advantageous to the school district and the school district has property near Interstate 95 on U.S. 15 — the site of the former Dantzler Middle School which closed about 14 to 19 years ago.

“We are just swapping properties between the two,” Young said. “Because the value of our property is a little higher, they are allowing us to harvest the timber off of that property that they have to balance it out.”

Following the agenda portion of the meeting, Councilman Johnny Ravenell asked about the status of the county’s plans to expand the wastewater-treatment capacity at its Goodby’s Creek Wastewater treatment plant on U.S. 176. 

The tank is designed to treat about 500,000 gallons of wastewater a day. Currently, the plant is permitted to treat about 250,000 gallons a day. The plant will primarily serve the Matthews Industrial Park on U.S. 301 and U.S. 176 but will eventually look to serve the town of Elloree.

Young said the county is working with the USDA and has requested from the federal and state delegation to receive funding to expand the facility’s capacity.

Ravenell said expanding the facility will be important for economic development.

Ravenell also expressed his hopes that broadband projects ongoing in the county would help provide increased competition to existing providers such as Frontier. Ravenell said he has heard from some individuals about their difficulty in getting out of their broadband contract due to the lack of competition.

In other business:

  • Council agreed to approve a resolution providing tax incentives to Orangeburg solar farm Brewer Renewables LLC.

Brewer Renewables, a subsidiary of Seahorse Capital, is building a solar farm on Cannon Bridge Road near Riley Road. The project is expected to be operational in 2023. There are no new jobs associated with the solar project.

The resolution was needed to transfer the original fee-in-lieu agreement approved two years ago to a new entity.

  • Council gave unanimous second reading to an ordinance adding provisions to its public services code to ensure commercial driveways in the county are in line with state codes in order to better ensure the integrity of pipes and culverts. No one commented during a public hearing on the ordinance.
  • Council read a proclamation naming the third Saturday in February as Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated, South Carolina Zeta Youth Affiliates Day in the county.
  • Council gave unanimous first reading to an emergency ordinance allowing electronic meetings of council to continue. The extension was approved for 60 days and is in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Councilwoman Janie Cooper-Smith, who has often been outspoken on the importance of not littering, reminded all that April is a countywide cleanup month and said there will be a number of group cleanup events planned.

She also noted April is zero-tolerance-for-litter month and noted law enforcement will aim to double down on littering crimes.

  • Council went into closed session to discuss contractual matters related to the Orangeburg County School District.