DILLON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - It’s full steam ahead for a new inland port coming to the Pee Dee.
A groundbreaking is slated for the beginning of March for the upcoming Dillon County port.
County officials said the new port will lead to more jobs, increase property values and bring new real estate to the area.
“It’s going to bring spinoff industries here that are wanting to locate close to the port to cut down on their shipping cost," said Tommy Stephens, a broker at Dillon Realty. "It’s just going to be a boom for everything.”
Stephens, who has been working in real estate for 26 years, said the momentum around the inland port is causing a lot of excitement in Dillon County.
During an emergency meeting on Wednesday, the Dillon County Council made the first move to pick up land on Countryside Road where the port will be located.
“Our obligation was to buy the land for the port. We certainly need to have skin in the game," said Dillon County Administrator Rodney Barry. "It’s going to be tough to dish out $2 million in a small county. It’s a huge obligation, but we think return on investment is well worth it.”
Barry said that funding is coming out of the general fund. For county leaders, seeing the fortune and boom the inland port brought to Greer brings them comfort in their investment.
“Greer was the destination of the first inland port," Barry said. "I think their community has grown threefold since then. They have attracted a lot of jobs, so I think the return on investment is already a proven fact in the upstate. We are looking to duplicate that right here in Dillon County.”
It’s that positive ripple effect that businesses like Dillon Reality are counting on to turn the community around.
“The businesses that will come with the port will bring employees, those employees are going to need housing," Stephens said. "The more people that you have in the area, the more business you will have.”
He added his experience leads him to believe the success of the port will mean more subdivisions and commercial properties will begin flooding the county.
Council will have two more readings to make those funds available for the purchase of the land.