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Pocotaligo Industrial Park Receives State Certification

July 27, 2009

The Sumter Development Board announced today that its 320-acre Pocotaligo Industrial Park has received state certification, meaning it has been approved by the S.C. Dept. of Commerce as a “shovel-ready” industrial site. 

Pocotaligo Industrial Park joins Sumter County’s Black River Airport Industrial Park as the second certified park in the community. Between the two properties, Sumter County now has more than 1,000 acres of certified sites, with contiguous parcels of up to 400 acres. 

“Site certification is a big deal,” said Deepal Eliatamby, P.E., president of Alliance Consulting Engineers, based in Columbia. The engineering firm spent more than six months on the project. “When corporate executives and site selectors look for places to build and expand, they start with shovel-ready sites. If they find what they need, they might never even bother looking at sites that don’t have that certification. So it’s critical that communities serious about economic development are prepared through certification.” 

Site certification means a site has been thoroughly vetted by an approved engineering firm to determine a long list of issues, including ownership, boundaries, and the capacities of existing utilities. It also seeks to locate endangered species or contaminants, if any. Sumter’s site had neither. 

“The whole point of site certification is to ensure development prospects that there will be no surprises when the get ready to break ground,” said Sumter Development Board Chairman Greg A. Thompson. “Not only does that give them a certain comfort level they wouldn’t otherwise have, but it also cuts their startup time significantly, because we’ve already done all the legwork in advance.”

Thompson said the Pocotaligo property is a prime piece of real estate, and is ideally suited for a manufacturer or distributor that needs close interstate access and perhaps access to the Ports of Charleston. 

“This park is on a new 4-lane highway, less than 10 miles from I-95 with no stoplights between the park and the interstate. Additionally, we’re currently expanding both water and sewer capacity in the park, thanks to a $75 million public referendum approved by voters last year,” Thompson said. “This park is ideally located and ready for development.” 

The certification of Pocotaligo Industrial Park represents a partnership between the City of Sumter, Sumter County and the Sumter Smarter Growth Initiative (SSGI), the private sector arm of the Sumter Development Board. Those three entities combined to finance the certification’s cost of $131,000. The property is owned by the City of Sumter, although it is located outside the city limits. 

“We cannot attract economic development if we are not prepared for it,” said Sumter Mayor Joseph McElveen. “Having sites ready when opportunities arise is critical to success in today’s competitive business environment.  The leadership of the City of Sumter, recognizing the importance of proximity to I-95, wisely acquired this property in 1998.  The cooperative effort that led to this certification shows the commitment that our entire community has to attracting new investment and creating jobs.”

SSGI Chairman Jay Cox said the certification project is emblematic of why the SSGI was founded.  “This is a great example of how the private sector can help local governments in job creation,” Cox said. “It would have been incredibly difficult for one group to step up and make this happen. But when all of us join forces, there is so much more we can accomplish.” 

Sumter County Council Chairwoman Vivian Fleming-McGhaney said the certification shows site selectors and corporate executives that the community is ready and willing to partner in the name of growth. 

“I think this sends a loud and clear message that Sumter County takes economic development seriously, and that we’re willing to make smart investments in our future,” she said. “Through this site certification, we will enhance our chances of creating jobs and bringing capital investment to Sumter County.” 

For more information on Pocotaligo Industrial Park, click here.

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"When you invest in yourself, people will invest in you."
Gene Baten
Sumter County Council