Charleston Investment on Pace for Increase

March 25, 2011

Investigative Reports

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The NerveBy Warwick Jones
Citizen Reporter

The Charleston County Council Finance Committee was treated to presentations by Steve Dykes, the director of the county’s economic Development department, and members of the Charleston Regional Development Alliance during the March 10 meeting.

Understandably, there was some back-patting in relation to getting Boeing and some of its suppliers to set up in the county and optimistic sounds about production at the Boeing facility – expected to begin by summer next year.

But there was more: interest in new investment, excluding that related to Boeing, had fallen in the past two years in line with the harshness of the economy.

But there has been a noticeable increase in inquires this year and this presaged an increase in investment in the county.

Nobody said they expected it to exceed the near $1 billion of 2009 (including Boeing), but in these times who could be so optimistic?

Last year, investment was estimated at $157 million. In the first two months of this year, it has totaled $37 million. If this rate continues investment could top $220 million.

The committee also voted last night to approve a $30 million bond issue by the Parks and Recreation Commission. The funds would be used largely for maintenance, development and debt servicing.

Executive Director Tom O’Rourke said that the Parks and Recreation was sitting on some 10,000 acres. It still had to determine its priorities and move ahead with development.

O’Rourke did not anticipate that Parks and Recreation would be approaching the council for a millage increase in the foreseeable future.