UNION COUNTY — A non-profit corporation that will enable Union County to partner with private businesses and industries to facilitate economic development in the county is two steps closer to being able to undertake its mission.
During its September meeting Tuesday evening at the Carlisle Town Hall, Union County Council voted unanimously to approving first reading of an ordinance setting up funding for the Union County Facilities Corporation. The ordinance authorizes the “execution and delivery of a project grant agreement” by and between the county and the corporation in the form of a “project grant agreement.” The agreement will permit the appropriation of county funds necessary to make “certain payments” required under the agreement.
The Union County Facilities Corporation is a non-profit corporation designed to enhance the economic development of Union County by providing the county with the ability to enter into public-private partnerships with private businesses and industries in order to do so.
Council voted in January to approve a resolution committing the county to establishing the corporation. At that time, Supervisor Frank Hart said such non-profit corporations are used by many counties and cities because it provides them with a mechanism for public-private partnerships for economic development. Hart said that economic development efforts in a community often require public entities like the county to partner with private entities such as a business or industry to facilitate the process. He said this is difficult for counties to do given state law and how county government is set up, but non-profits like the UCFC make it easier for public entities like the county to enter into such necessary partnerships.
Tuesday’s vote came less than a week after the Union County Facilities Corporation was incorporated during a meeting at the Union County Development Board on Thursday, Sept. 7.
The incorporation meeting was attended by Hart, Union County Council Vice Chairman Ben Ivey, Union County Development Board Executive Director Kathy Jo Taylor and Brandon Norris, an attorney with the McNair Law Firm.
The meeting included the passage of a series of resolutions related to the incorporation of the corporation including:
• Approval of the corporation’s bylaws.
• Adoption of the corporation’s fiscal year which will run from July 1 to June 30.
• Authorizing the opening of a bank account on the corporation’s behalf.
• Authorizing the obtaining of insurance.
• Authorizing the corporation’s officers to undertake action to obtain tax exempt status.
• Authorizing the corporation to enter into a lease agreement with a private company for the development of an industrial building in Midway Green.
The meeting also saw the appointment of the corporation’s officers including the president, vice president, and secretary-treasurer. The corporation’s bylaws state that the Union County Supervisor will serve as president; the Union County Council Vice Chairman will serve as vice president; and the Executive Director of the Union County Development Board will serve as secretary-treasurer. In accordance with thebylaws, Hart was appointed president, Ivey vice president, and Lancaster secretary-treasurer during the incorporation meeting.
At the conclusion of the incorporation meeting, Hart reiterated the purpose of the Union County Facilities Corporation.
“It’s to assist with economic development in Union County,” Hart said. “That’s the primary purpose of the corporation.”
In another economic related matter, council voted unanimously to approve second reading of an ordinance “authorizing the sale and conveyance” of property owned by Union County to KG Plus, LLC.
The transfer is designed to facilitate the ongoing expansion of the spec building in Union Commerce Park and was requested by KG Plus, LLC because the facility has already been expanded to the current limits of the property and more space is needed. Once the transfer is complete, KG Plus, LLC will be able to add additional square footage to the existing building.
Council voted unanimously in September 2016 to sell the spec building to Agracel Inc. of Effingham, Illinois for $1,528,890 with the county clearing $69,414.44 from the sale.
The sale of the spec building was part of the county’s strategy of getting the site ready for industrial development. Agracel, which was founded in 1986, specializes in up-fitting buildings for manufacturing and has developed over 12 million square feet of industrial space in 17 states.
At the time of the sale, the site, which is located at 2 LSP Drive in the Union Commerce Park off US 176, included the 60,000 square foot building itself, an adjacent 60,000 square-foot building pad, and an additional 45,000 square feet of open land. The pad and the additional land are there to accommodate any potential industrial expansion that may occur.
When it was sold, the property had all the necessary utilities including power, water, sewer, and gas for industrial development and ready access to US 176. The building itself, however, was an empty shell with a dirt floor which made it easier for Agracel to develop the facility as it saw fit.
Industrial Park Expansion
Another economic development matter was addressed when council voted unanimously to approve third and final reading of an ordinance amending a multi-county agreement between Union County and Spartanburg County. The counties entered into the agreement in 1994 in order to facilitate the development of the multi-county “Wingo Industrial Park” located in Spartanburg County.
The ordinance states that the park agreement between the two counties “contemplates the expansion of the Park by inclusion of additional parcels within the park from time to time, pursuant to ordinances of the county councils of Spartanburg County and Union County.”
The ordinance further states that the counties “now desire to amend the Park Agreement to expand the Park to include certain parcels in Spartanburg County as additional parcels in Park.”
A description of the property included in the ordinance states that the property to be added to Wingo Industrial Park through the expansion totals 30.5248 acres.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.