Dorchester County Breaks Ground on Winding Woods Commerce Park

St. George, South Carolina

October 8, 2012 - Dorchester County officials broke ground this morning on Winding Woods Commerce Park at the corner of Winding Woods Road and U.S. Highway 78 in St. George. The groundbreaking ceremony commemorated the long-awaited arrival of reclaimed water and sewer to the County's large industrial site in the western part of Dorchester County. In addition to members of Dorchester County Council, those helping to celebrate the occasion included elected officials, project allies, legislative delegation members, and various community leaders, just to name a few.   

Opening the event, Dorchester County Council Chairman Larry Hargett said, "This celebration marks a big step forward for Dorchester County. Winding Woods Commerce Park is a culmination of hard work and strategic planning that will bring future jobs to the St. George area. The best way to grow our economy and support job creation is to invest in the things businesses need to be successful, and having a strong infrastructure is one of them. Today is proof that we are doing just that."

Also heavily involved in this project, but unable to attend the groundbreaking, Dorchester County Council Vice Chairman George Bailey said of the project, "Winding Woods is a valuable resource for Dorchester County that will bridge the gap between St. George and Summerville. The industrial park will offer certified sites to new and existing industries, with the potential of many new jobs being created."

Over five years in the making, plans for the 610-acre site were first initiated in 2007 to provide employment opportunities in the St. George area. Winding Woods was first announced in 2009 as the Tri-County region's first certified industrial site that offers companies requiring both port and interstate access a low risk option to help them make a fast decision. Due to the expansive size, the site is best suited for those industries looking for large tracts of land, which can be subdivided into lots ranging from 20 to 50 acres.

Representing District 1, County Councilman Willie Davis said during the celebration, "When this project first began, it was our goal to provide Upper Dorchester County residents with better job opportunities without a long commute. Now that we have secured water and sewer for the site, we are eager to see the return on this investment for our citizens."

As key players in this project, representatives from both Santee Cooper and Edisto Electric Cooperative were included in the program, and spoke of the project's impact from both a state and local standpoint.

"Santee Cooper is committed to partnering with local economic development offices and electric cooperatives on projects that bring jobs and prosperity to South Carolina," said Lonnie Carter, Santee Cooper President and CEO. "Winding Woods Commerce Park is a classic example, and it's destined to be a great success story. Congratulations to Dorchester County, and I'm pleased to play a role in today's groundbreaking."

"Edisto Electric is pleased to be a part of this celebration today," said David Felkel, President and CEO of Edisto Electric Cooperative. "We are excited about our partnership and involvement with the development of Winding Woods to enhance the upper part of Dorchester County. The commerce park's prominent location will be a big draw for those industries interested in locating near the I-95 corridor."

Totaling $3.6 million, the project will include the installation of sewer and reclaim water line that will stretch nearly 2.6 miles along Highway 78 to provide a "shovel-ready" site for prospective industries. 

The water to serve the site will be provided by the Dorchester County Water Authority.       

"Today's groundbreaking has been a long time coming for Dorchester County, as well as those that helped make this project a reality. Winding Woods has truly been a team effort," said Representative Patsy Knight. "Days like today are very rewarding, as we finally see our hard work come to fruition. With infrastructure now being added to the site, the final piece of the puzzle is in place to attract industry to create more jobs for our citizens. Today is a sign that good things are in store for Dorchester County."

Speaking as a longtime supporter of this project, Senator John Matthews said, "Winding Woods is one of Dorchester County's key business assets with a location at the intersection of I-95 and I-26 ideal for large manufacturing and distribution operations. Infrastructure investment was the last major hurdle to overcome in this process and through efforts by many; we can now support businesses in this part of the County."

Concluding the celebration, both Representative Patsy Knight and Senator John Matthews presented a check to Dorchester County for $1 million from the Upper Dorchester County Economic Development Fund to contribute to the County's infrastructure investment project. Matching funds included a $2.1 million loan from Santee Cooper, in addition to water and sewer impact fees.

Construction for the project will be led by Tideland Utilities, and is estimated to be complete by March 2013.

About the Dorchester County Economic Development

Dorchester County Economic Development is the organization responsible for growing and retaining business in the County. Its mission is to work to create and support an environment that welcomes business, and helps companies to grow and succeed over the long-term. This ultimately will increase the standard of living for all of Dorchester County's citizens by providing more job opportunities with higher skills and better wages.