County seeks full revamp of Georgetown Ports
GEORGETOWN, S.C. (WCSC) - Known for its rich maritime history, Georgetown County has announced its game plan to bring in redevelopment, while also embracing its roots.
The Georgetown Ports deeded their around 40-acre property at no cost over to the county in June of last year. They officially closed this deal at the end of last month. The Georgetown Ports make up the last undeveloped coastal community in South Carolina and Georgetown County is hoping to change that.
Georgetown County Councilor Bob Anderson says he’s been in the county since the 1970s and says this plan has been a long time coming.
“Hopefully, it will be - we’ll use it for commerce,” Anderson said. “It won’t be my decision alone. I’ve only got one vote out of seven. I want to see jobs here, for paying jobs.”
The Georgetown Ports property has not been used since 2016 and when the acres were handed over last year, county officials began doing their due diligence on what needs to be done. They discovered from an outside contractor that they will have to fund $13.6 million to fix deficiencies on the existing port structures.
However, that’s not in their current budget.
Their economic development director, Tiffany Harrison, says although the funding will take some time to get, it’s not something that has to be done in a day.
“We start prioritizing what are the biggest concerns that we need to address,” Harrison said. “Then, we can start looking for funding opportunities and partnerships.”
The county has also identified environmental concerns that will need to be addressed.
“They’re not terrible,” Harrison said. “They’re not things that would keep this property from being redeveloped. It’s just they’re going to be specific ways we have to address redevelopment based on the findings in certain areas.”
Harrison says the sky is the limit for what’s to come at the ports, while not knocking out any option of commercial, industrial or even residential land.
The county will be putting together a team of consultants to create a comprehensive master plan next. Anderson says they probably won’t have a timeline for when the full project will be completed for another 12-18 months.
“I’m just trying to do everything I can do to make it what it needs to be in the time I’ve got left on this Earth,” Anderson said.
Harrison and other Georgetown County officials deem this property as the “land of opportunity.”
“If done properly, this can be a place that everybody in Georgetown can be proud of,” Harrison said. “That they’ll want to share with their family. That they’ll want to share with the world.”
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