In October, the Kershaw County Council approved a bond worth up to $17M dollars for economic development. The goal of this bond is to advance the competitive position of the county to recruit new and retain existing businesses. The money from the bond will be used to make infrastructure improvements at three industrial parks in the county. In this blog post, we provide details about this unique funding tool from an interview with Peggy McLean, Economic Development Director, Kershaw County, SC.
In 2014, the department completed an industrial product evaluation that identified 13 specific projects that would support new and existing business development. These projects included roadway improvements, clearing and grading of sites, speculative building construction, and park signage and entrance improvements. An engineering firm provided an estimate of the costs of these projects which led to the amount of money that needed to be supplied by the bond. There were other funding options that were considered by county administration and county council, but bond financing was considered the best option. This bond will also be used to leverage private and outside funding sources for greater economic impact.
The bond was not passed by public referendum. It was passed by the Kershaw County Council; however, council members believed that the public should be well-informed of the bond. The citizens of the county were made aware of the bond through numerous sources such as newspaper/radio advertisements, the involvement of local citizen clubs, and numerous presentations at county council meetings, chamber of commerce, and Board of Education meetings.
The amount of money that will be invested in product development from this bond is remarkable in the State of South Carolina and the amount of work that the Kershaw County Economic Development Department put into this bond deserves recognition. Passing a bond of this magnitude shows that Kershaw County is being proactive in economic development to attract new and retain existing businesses. The bond was passed in a very successful year in economic development when almost $200 million in new capital investment and 750 new jobs were announced.
Creative EDC has been researching unique funding tools for economic development and will profile others in our best practices blog.
Contact us for more information.