County Moves Forward on I-77 Project

WINNSBORO (July 7, 2016) – After a brief executive session Tuesday evening, County Council voted unanimously to pass first reading of an ordinance authorizing the execution of an agreement between Fairfield County and the S.C. Department of Commerce that authorizes the County to purchase property located in Fairfield County. Earlier, the Administration and Finance Committee spent almost an hour in executive session discussing the issue before voting to move it to Council for a vote.

“We are negotiating in partnership with the state to purchase a tract of land for a possible industrial site,” Councilwoman Carolyn Robinson (District 2) told The Voice following the meeting. She added that Council’s goal is to bring good paying jobs to Fairfield County.

While the vote was unanimous on Tuesday evening, Councilman Kamau Marcharia (District 4) didn’t appeared to be in agreement about the project at last month’s intergovernmental meeting. At that meeting, Marcharia said the County might be better served if Council could focus as much on small businesses as it does on big, long-range industrial projects.

Robinson, however, later told The Voice that Marcharia had spoken out of turn, specifically in his mention of the County’s prospective I-77 project.

A better idea (than the I-77 project), Marcharia said, is supporting the expansion of water and sewer infrastructure by the local municipalities, which in turn, he said, would spur the growth of small businesses and improve opportunities for adequate housing.

“I think if you had that (expanded water and sewer), small businesses would come, housing would come,” Marcharia said, “rather than waiting for 10 years for one major project on I-77.”

Marcharia identified the I-77 project as a long-range vision to construct a major industrial park somewhere along the interstate in the northern portion of the country. Robinson, meanwhile, would not speak in detail about the project.

“I am not at liberty to discuss it,” she said. “We (members of County Council) are under a confidentiality agreement. Mr. Marcharia was out of line (talking about it).”


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