Clinton - The Rock Steady Capital of US


At first, the fact that the City of Clinton is going to have to spend more than $75,000 of money that could have been spent on an industry, instead on rocks, is shocking and disappointing.

The mayor said it puts the city “between a rock and a hard place.”

Who would have ever known that there is so much rock under the soil where Clinton wants more retail businesses to come and locate, just off I-26. It is, of course, the cost of doing business - spend money to make money, and all that capitalistic rhetoric.

But now that the rock has been found, in a retail space clearing off Hwy 72 within eye-shot of I-26, somebody has to move it. If that “somebody” is going to be the contractor that Clinton is paying to “level the land,” well then, the city going to have to pony up (see Chronicle, Page 2A, Jan. 4).

Instead of complaining, lets do some marketing.

How can we market rock?

In the fall, we could have Rhythm on the Rocks. Bring some of the bigger rocks uptown, put them in some parking lots and let bands play beside them. Outshyne needs a place to try out its two new singers, and The Redeemers of Faith Quartet can harmonize, “On Christ, the Solid Rock.”

Pat Patterson can put together a shag version of Aretha’s “Rock Steady.”

Second idea, paint some rocks red, put devil horns on them and ship them for display in Cleveland. You got it, at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.

Then get Presbyterian College to sell that “store bought” rock in Bailey Memorial Stadium, and buy a real, Clinton rock. The Scotsman climbs up on the rock, pulls out his sword, brandishes it, then runs out onto the field behind the Blue Hose football team.

We’re scraping that.

Tommy Spangler’s going to climb a ladder to get up on top of a real, big Clinton rock, and dive off - crowd-surfing style - into the waiting arms of the cheerleaders. Throw in some blue balloons for pazzazz.

OK, so we’re going to have to spend $210,000 to get rid of 7,000 cubic yards of rock. We’re tapping out the leftover money in the Utility Economic Development Fund and the Municipal Site Readiness Fund, and that leaves us having to pay $76,770 from something called the Community Development Fund. That’s what Clinton-Newberry Natural Gas Authority pays instead of property taxes.

No tax money is being spent to move the rock from one place to another. However, with all of these economic development funds paying for rock, how are we going to be Laurens County’s “jobs creator”?

Not that Laurens County needs a jobs creator - our unemployment rate is 4.6%. Everybody that wants to work (and has a clean criminal record) already has a job.

Still we have to create more jobs, so lets sell the rocks. Have convicts bust up the big rocks using sledgehammers, then the unemployed people can travel up and down I-26 selling rocks.

Doesn’t sound any crazier than - what was that a while back - “pet rocks.”

Finally, my keen eye for research and marketing has found that on eBay you can buy stuff pertaining to Sgt. Rock.

That’s Sgt. Franklin “Frank” John Rock - don’t know who that is? Look him up on the interweb. 

We can build a rock stage, behind city hall, where the city wants to put a performance pavilion. We can make and sell rock waterfalls, and rock fire pits. Build a “yellow rock road” all along the Millers Fork Trail. 

Heck, we can put rock siding all over the falling-down buildings throughout Clinton.

Or, we can take the easy way. Send it all over to Rock Bridge Presbyterian Church. So they don’t have to stand on shifting sand.


(Vic MacDonald is Editor of The Clinton Chronicle. His columns appear monthly and in Blogs on Contact him at 833-1900 or






Jan. 4, 2017, The Clinton Chronicle, Larry Franklin, Publisher

Clinton City Council voted unanimously to spend up to an additional $210,000 to complete the grading of city-owned property between West Corporate Center Drive (the frontage road) and I26 to make the property ready for future retail locations.

But council members weren’t happy with having to spend the extra money, in addition to the $492,000 already allocated in a contract approved in November.

Council member Jimmy Young was critical of engineering work done on the property that did not find a large rock formation that is causing the additional work.

“This really hurts,” Young said.

Mayor Bob McLean said the city is caught between a rock and a hard place – literally, since the work is already underway and money has been spent. “We’re in a spot we don’t want to be in,” he said.

McLean asked if the engineers would have any liability “since the information from them was inaccurate.”

Marvin Moss, the city’s economic development director, said the terrain is “so drastic” it was difficult to get into the area to take borings to find any large rock formations.

City Manager Frank Stovall said the additional amount approved during the Dec. 29 called meeting -- $210,000 – is the worse case scenario. “They don’t think they will find that (much rock),” he said. 

“They’ll be close,” Young said. “Trust me. That’s how grading companies make up their challenges.”

Stovall and Council Member Norman Scarborough, who made the motion to approve the change order, emphasized none of the money being spent on the project (the total will be up to $702,000) comes from property tax money or utility payments.

Scarborough said any new retail establishment will pay property taxes and possibly hospitality taxes or accommodation taxes to the city.

The city received a grant from Santee Cooper through the Municipal Site Readiness Fund to cover the original contract.

Stovall plans to use $30,236 left over from the pad project at the I26 Commerce Park, $102,992 left in the West Corporate Center Drive surplus account, $38,385 in anticipated community development funds from CNNGA in 2017 and $38,385 in the 2018 fiscal year utility shared revenue funds to make up the $210,000.

The I26 pad project and the West Corporate Center Drive project were both funded by Municipal Site Readiness Funds, which would have to be returned if not spent, he said.

The original grading plan was to “shave the top off the hill” on the site to make it ready for retail development, the city manager said. But “significant” rock deposits were encountered.

The original contract called for a charge of $35 per cubic yard to remove and dispose of mass amounts of rock, but Stovall said the city has found a place on-site to dispose of the rock, which will save about $5 per cubic yard.





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