A "mistake" - that has support
Councilman: Development Corp makes "a serious mistake."
Laurens County Councilman David Tribble, of Clinton, says the Laurens County Development Corporation is making a mistake by moving its office to The Midtown Building in downtown Laurens, from the Chamber of Commerce building between Clinton and Laurens. Tribble said the fact that the County now is giving LCDC more money than it used to, gave the development corporation the means to move to a different office.
Used to be, LCDC was funded at $360,000/annual from the County - now, it is funded at 5% of the FILOTs it successfully negotiates with industries. The LCDC board has approved the move.
Tribble said Clinton realizes it is a "smaller partner" in the LCDC, with the City of Laurens and Laurens County also having board representation, but he said the "smaller partner" has joined in to make collaborative efforts work - until now.
Tribble said all the entities that contribute to quality of life in the community - the Hospital, social services, vocational rehab, the Cancer Association, aging council, the free clinic, and doctors' offices and Piedmont Tech are located "within a stone's throw" of where LCDC is now. There is no need to move - Tribble said, no need for more space, and the move hurts the Chamber.
Tribble said he intends to take up the matter with the Clinton-Newberry Natural Gas Authority, School District 56, and the City of Clinton - all of which have seats on the LCDC board.
County Council Chairman Brown Patterson, who sits on the LCDC board, said Clinton "did it's own economic development corporation - If you want to play on the big team, don't take your own ball."
Patterson said he did not attend the LCDC meeting when the Midtown Building lease was approved and did not cast a vote. The LCDC Board meets at the Center for Advanced Manufacturing, a Piedmont Tech facility, near Laurens.
Patterson said LCDC was "centrally located, back in the day, for a reason." But now, prospects want to see quality of life, and that is best represented in downtown Laurens. He said it is a "misconception" that The Midtown Building, without an elevator, is not handicapped-accommodating - he said there is a first floor office where LCDC staff can meet with people who cannot access the second floor offices.
The matter was discussed during tonight's Laurens County Council meeting during Council Members' comments time.