Originally created 05/18/98

New industry may bring 110 new jobs



EDGEFIELD, S.C. - Two new industries planning to locate in Edgefield County may bring more than 110 new jobs to the area.

A high-technology government research facility and a locally owned tire recycling plant could result in jobs on both ends of the technology scale.

The first steps have been taken to locate an Air Force pollution-prevention research center in the town of Edgefield. If it makes it through the appropriations process in motion in Congress, the center could bring about 100 jobs to Edgefield County, half of them high-tech, professional jobs with an average salary of $50,000 a year.

"We've only cleared the first hurdle and there's still a lot to do before it's a sure thing," Mayor John Pettigrew Jr. said. "It's real early in the process."

Charles Z. Yonce Jr. also has taken the first steps in the state permitting process to open a tire recycling center on South Carolina Highway 121 between Trenton and Johnston that would employ 12 to 15 workers and include an equipment investment of about $700,000.

"I mailed the application package to the (state) Department of Health and Environmental Control ... and I hope to hear something from them next week," Mr. Yonce said.

He said the operation would comply with all state regulations and he expects the state agency to send inspectors to the recycling center.

He has received a "letter of consistency" from Three Rivers Solid Waste Authority, of which Edgefield County is a member, as required by South Carolina law. Once a permit is issued for the recycling plant, it will be listed as a regional waste-management facility. In addition, Mr. Yonce is applying for South Carolina and Georgia permits to transport waste tires.

He intends to process about four million tires annually and market the recycled product for use as septic drainage and landscaping.

The federal defense authorization bill containing $24 million for an Air Force pollution-prevention program has received a favorable report from the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C.

"It went on the floor Monday and is now before the Senate," said John DeCrosta, Mr. Thurmond's spokesman.

Money for the program, however, must be included in the bill before the Senate Appropriations Committee. South Carolina's other U.S. senator, Ernest F. Hollings, who is the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, supports the program. But the money won't make it into the Senate version of the budget until it gets the full approval of the committee.

Even at that, Mr. DeCrosta said, the measure still must survive a House-Senate conference committee and the president must sign off on it.

If the program is intact at the end of the process, it is likely the Air Force research center will be located in the old Kendall Mill on Norris Street, one block from the square in Edgefield. The mill, once home of a Delta-Woodside manufacturing facility, has stood empty for 10 years -- since Delta Woodside's SteveCo Knit facility opened at another location.