Image courtesy of the Town of Jonesville
This is an artist’s rendition of what the multi-use park the Town of Jonesville is planning to develop on the old Wellington Leisure site once it has been cleaned up.
JONESVILLE — The Town of Jonesville and the rest of the upper part of Union County is an area of enormous potential that has only begun to be developed and developing that potential to its fullest to the benefit of the area and the rest of the County is why the Town has worked and is continuing to work with other local governments and agencies on a series of economic development projects.
Since the 1990s, the Town of Jonesville has worked with a number of private and public organizations including Union County and the City of Union to promote economic development in the upper part of Union County including helping bring the Dollar General and Belk distribution centers to the area.
Jonesville’s commitment to economic development continued earlier this year when it joined forces with the City and the County to work to secure US Department of Commerce EDA CARES Act Funding Opportunity funds to provide the Trakas Industrial Site with industrial grade wastewater infrastructure. When completed, the Joint Regional Sewer Project will enable the City of Union to provide sewer service to the Trakas Industrial Site while the Town of Jonesville will provide the site with water. The idea behind the Project is that by having that infrastructure in place it will make then Site, which is located on SC 9 north of Jonesville, attractive to large water-intensive industries and bring them and the investments they will make and the jobs they will create to Union County.
While located in the upper part of the County — and outside the municipal limits of Jonesville — economic projects like the Dollar General and Belk distribution centers have benefited the Town, the upper part of Union County, and Union County as a whole and continue to do so. The Trakas Industrial Site infrastructure project will also benefit Jonesville, the upper part of the County, and the County as a whole as well when completed by helping the Town, the City and the County attract industry to the site.
The County as a whole enjoys the benefits of these projects that have already come to fruition and will enjoy those that are pending when they come to fruition because economic development does not happen in isolation, but has a positive impact beyond the immediate area where the project takes place.
So what’s next for the Town of Jonesville when it comes to economic development projects that benefit not only the Town and its area of the County but Union County as a whole?
What’s next is a project that was discussed at Union County Council’s August meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 11.
During the meeting, Union County Supervisor Frank Hart presented Council with the following letter he received from Town of Jonesville Administrator Michael Tyler who wrote that:
The Town of Jonesville is applying for a CDBG Grant through the Catawba Council of Governments for the old Wellington Leisure Mill site here in Jonesville. With all the final estimates and project scopes in and approved by DHEC, this cleanup is going to cost roughly a million dollars.
While the project will cost approximately $1 million, Tyler pointed out that the maximum amount of funding the Town could get at a time is just half that, and so the project will have to done in two phases.
Being that the Brownsfield Cleanup Grants max out at five hundred thousand ($500,000), the cleanup will have to be done in two separate phases of five hundred thousand a piece. The match for this project is ten percent (10%) of the five hundred thousand ($500,000) that equates to a fifty thousand ($50,000) in match money. The Jonesville Town Council met Tuesday, Aug. 4th and a motion was made and passed unanimously, to request a ten percent (10%) match from Union County assist on this cleanup project.
Though the Town has taken steps to accrue the required matching funds on its own, Tyler said it is still short of the $50,000 needed and is asking for the County’s help.
The Town of Jonesville has saved up match money over the last several years but we do not have enough match for the complete project, so assistance from the County is greatly needed. Please bring this request before County Council at the Tuesday, August 11th meeting to see if the County can assist us in any financially.
Hart did just that, and Council responded by voting unanimously to allocate $25,000 from the Union County Economic Development Fund to go toward the requested match in the event Jonesville is awarded the requested $500,000 Community Development Block Grant.
As for what the Town will do with the property once it is cleaned up, Tyler the Town’s goal is to develop to benefit not only the people of Jonesville, but Union County as a whole.
Once the site is cleaned up, our plan is to convert the site into a large multi-use park that would benefit the entire County.
In an interview with The Union Times, Tyler said that the clean-up of the site, which is located at 300 Office Street, Jonesville, is part of the Town’s efforts to develop new recreational opportunities as well as support existing ones, develop new learning opportunities, and reestablish community activities not only for the benefit of the people of Jonesville and the rest of Union County, but also to draw tourists from outside the County.
“Our goal once the clean-up is completed is to develop the site as a multi-use park,” Tyler said. “The park will include walking trails, a multi-age playground, picnic pavilions with restrooms, an outdoor amphitheater, and a large open green space for public use.”
Tyler said that the new multi-use park will be linked to the Town’s existing recreational facilities.
“We plan to tie it in with the Bantams Baseball Field which is the home field of the USC Union Bantams Baseball Team,” Tyler said. “The walking trails will connect with the ball field and so anyone at the field can go for a walk or ride a bicycle along the trails as well as enjoy the games played there.”
An artist’s rendition of what the new park will look like not only depicts it being linked to the ball field, but also to the existing Jonesville Mini Park which will also be improved.
Tyler said that with the amphitheater the Town “will be able to have public gatherings for singing or theatrical events.” He added that the Town also plans to use the new multi-use park as the location for the reestablished Jonesville Town Festival.
In keeping with its multi-use nature, the new park will also provide a learning experience for those who visit it.
“There is a stream running through there and we plan to use it as an educational wetland,” Tyler said. “There will be signage along the stream that will tell you about what species live there.”
Jonesville’s plans for the multi-use park are in keeping with its efforts to promote economic development that will not only benefit the Town’s residents but also the County as a whole. In this case that means tourism which, together with the manufacturing sector and the commercial/service sector, are the main underpinnings of a community’s economy. Tyler said Jonesville is hoping to use the planned multi-use park and the facilities that will be part of it along with the existing recreational facilities and the reestablished Community Festival to attract tourists to the Town. He said this will not only benefit Jonesville, but also the rest of the upper part of the County and the County as a whole by boosting the local economy.
“We are looking to promote tourism by having recreational facilities for local residents and visitors from outside Union County,” Tyler said. “These facilities will be for local residents and for people from all over the county and from outside our county to enjoy.”
Tyler added that the multi-use park is part of the Town of Jonesville’s strategic vision that encompasses a wide variety of improvements that will benefit the Town and the rest of Union County including economic development, quality of life, and the upgrading and expansion of infrastructure needed to attract/support industry and business and the jobs and investments they bring. He said the Town is continuing to work on projects designed to achieve the goals in those areas while also working to create the multi-use park on the Wellington Leisure site and to help bring the Trakas Industrial Site Joint Regional Sewer Project to fruition.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.