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ST. MATTHEWS – Calhoun County's Eastman Industrial Site will be receiving enhancements thanks to a grant awarded by the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

The 800-acre Eastman property was recently purchased by Calhoun Land Investors LLC for $4.4 million, according to the Calhoun County property records. The county signed a letter of intent agreeing to adhere to certain stipulations regarding the grant related to the industrial site located in Gaston.

“The Department of Commerce has awarded the Eastman property a site-enhancement grant that involves several things. One, those funds have to be given to a public body as a part of this process,” Interim Calhoun County Administrator Ted Felder said during the council’s meeting on Jan. 28.

“They (DOC) want to have us procure the services of several items that are listed in the letter largely related to … And also to commit that we will own the necessary rights of both of the public utilities, maintenance of the spine road, etc.,” Felder said.

Felder noted the grant is issued specifically for infrastructure purposes.

Calhoun Land Investors LLC assigned Alliance Consultant Engineers to share a conceptual plan for the industrial site.

Kyle Clampitt, vice president and principal of Alliance Consultant Engineers, presented council with the plan and said the grant was secured based on the potential of the site.

“In the past, it’s been marketing more to one individual site, but it’s really more of a park aspect with all the utilities that are running throughout there that carve up the property into individualized parcels,” Clampitt said.

“The Department of Commerce has, as Mr. Felder mentioned, issued a grant as long as these stipulations are met, which are making sure the property is going to be publicly owned, as well as the commitment that the county would be maintaining and operating the water, wastewater and roadways associated with that,” Clampitt said.

“The property group that has purchased the Eastman site is willing to grant that land over to the county at no cost. There will not be an additional cost on behalf of Calhoun County for this,” Clampitt said.

A spine road will be constructed at the site.

“Right now as we move forward with the design and permitting of the spine road, which is known as the road that goes through the properties that’ll bisect between parcels one and 10, two and nine, and four and eight, and five and seven, that’s what’s known as the spine road of phase two,” Clampitt said.

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“That roadway will be designed and permitted, so the permit is ready whenever a tenant looks to locate in that area, we move forward with construction. The idea would be that project would generate incentives from the state,” Clampitt said.

Clampitt said the county will not incur any additional costs in relation to a $500,000 commitment previously made by the county.

“The project that’s underway right now that’s serving the water and wastewater to Zeus Inc. will not use all of that original amount. You should have additional funds left over,” Clampitt said.

“In addition to that $500,000 from the county, there was a $500,000 grant from RIA, which is Rural Infrastructure Authority, the division of the Department of Commerce, as well as, the million dollar grant through incentives associated with the Zeus Inc. project,” Clampitt said.

“Those will be more than enough to cover construction costs, so you are not at risk of going over what you’ve been spending already,” Clampitt said.

Further details regarding the future of the site, including a possible name change, and the conceptual design of the site will be available at a later date.

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Contact the writer: bharris@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5516

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Staff Writer

Bradley Harris is a Government and Sports Reporter. The Irmo, SC native is a 2018 graduate of Claflin University and recipient of the 2018 South Carolina Press Association Collegiate Journalist of the Year Award.

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