County council OKs grading at commerce park

Outgoing council issues challenge to new council

By Jason Evans
Staff Reporter

COUNTY — Work will soon be underway to ensure the Pickens County Commerce Park is shovel-ready when interested parties come calling.

During their December meeting, county council members unanimously approved $2.4 million in bids for grading at the commerce park.

“We have four sites at the industrial park that need to be graded out,” county administrator Gerald Wilson told council during the meeting.

Grading work at the sites would make them “pad-ready” for future business recruitment, according to figures from Davis & Floyd Engineers provided to Wilson by Alliance Pickens executive director Ray Farley.

The work would be paid for from the general fund, Wilson said. A grant has also helped to bring the costs down, he said.

Councilman Neil Smith said the grading work was necessary.

“We’ve got to do this,” he said. “We don’t have any choice. We don’t have any more sites. So we’ve got to do this. The future council’s going to have to deal with the issue of (having more sites).”

Council chair Jennifer Willis agreed.

“We lose projects on a regular basis because we don’t have sites that are ready to go,” Willis said. “We could have that park full already if this grading were already done. I would challenge the new council — start looking for the next location, because you need to be ready.

“We have a great thing here; we have world leaders in our park. People want to come to Pickens County, they want to work here, they want to live here, they want to raise their families here. It’s our challenge to give them a place to conduct their business and be successful.”