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Florence County progress applauded at Legislative Day
Mar 7, 2018. Andrew Boardwine. aboardwine@florencenews.com. Reporter

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Florence County Council Chairman Kent Caudle sang praises Wednesday for economic development in the county, especially in the downtown area.

Caudle spoke to business leaders, along with state and local legislators, gathered at the Palmetto Club in Columbia on Wednesday for the 16th annual Florence County Legislative Day.

The Florence County Legislative Day is an event at which community leaders and businesses are able to hear from several legislators on the progress of the county and its outlook heading into the new year.

“I grew up in Florence,” Caudle said. “I’ve never seen such excitement that’s going on in downtown Florence. When I was a youngster, pretty much everything you needed was in between Dargan Street and Irby Street in downtown Florence. It was a great place to grow up and it’s now coming back.”

Caudle said the Florence County Economic Development Partnership recorded nearly $700 million in new investments by industry and created 1,059 new jobs in the past year.

In addition, Caudle said that David C. Poole Company has announced a $7.87 million investment that will create more than 30 jobs in Johnsonville and that Florence County was accepted for the Duke Site Readiness Program, making it the only county to be accepted six years in a row into the program.

“When you have industry that chooses to reinvest in their community, I think that speaks volumes about the business climate we have here in Florence County,” Caudle said.

Caudle said the completion of the new renovations to the Florence Center and the finished construction of the new judicial center were both successful developments and the county looks forward to planning stages of a new parking deck in downtown Florence, as well as several other projects in the coming year.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson spoke on several issues around the state, including opioid addiction, human trafficking and internet crimes and safety.

Wilson said human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide and is the fastest-growing criminal enterprise in the world.

“These are real issues in the Pee Dee and in South Carolina,” Wilson. “It is happening in Florence. Our task force is growing, but the only way you fight the problem is if you bring light to it. I’m telling you that you’re going to see more activity. This stuff is real.”

Wilson said good government should have five attributes: being responsible, predictable, accountable, profitable, and stable.

“As I travel around the country talking to industries, they’re looking at states like South Carolina,” Wilson said. “They’re looking at workforce, infrastructure, tax structures and much more. In everything we do, we should do it to benefit our people and help to grow the state of South Carolina.”

Attendees wrapped up the day with a social at Mellow Mushroom and then a reception at the Columbia Museum of Art, where state officials had a chance to meet with Florence County business people.

The Florence County Legislative Day is funded by Florence County, the city of Florence and the Florence County Economic Development Partnership.

Last Published: March 9, 2018 1:47 PM
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