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Monthly Archives: June 2016

South Carolina Will Get Boost From Expanded Panama Canal

When the Panama Canal opens up a new lane for bigger ships this month, much of the cargo they carry will be headed for this quiet corner of the Southeast, some 200 miles inland.

In the past few years, the rolling hills and farmland surrounding Greenville and Spartanburg have given way to massive warehouses and industrial parks. Restaurants in Greenville, S.C.’s formerly neglected downtown cater to corporate managers and engineers from Germany and Japan. Trucks clog the two main interstates, carrying engine parts and finished goods to and from the region’s growing number of manufacturing plants.

More development is on the way: over six million square feet of warehouse space is under construction in the Greenville-Spartanburg region, a scale typically seen in major cities like Philadelphia and St. Louis, according to CBRE Inc., a real-estate brokerage.

Lake Authority to receive grant for walking trail improvements

Major improvements are coming to the Lake Paul Wallace walking trail, thanks to a $75,000 grant administered through the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism.

The Lake Wallace Authority applied for the Recreational Trails Grant in February and recently learned it has been recommended for full funding. The next steps are project reviews by the Federal Highway Administration, State Historic Preservation Office and US Fish and Wildlife Service. Pending successful completion, the grant will be awarded later this year.

The grant will be used for a first-phase improvement plan for the 3.2-mile walking trail that crosses the diversion dam and encircles Lake Paul Wallace. It requires a 20 percent local match, which will be met through in-kind labor and additional funding by the Lake Wallace Authority.

Sully Blair, vice-chairman of the authority, said the project will involve regrading the diversion dam, which runs across the middle of the lake from Country Club Drive to Beauty Spot Road, and resurfacing it with a sand/clay/gravel mix for walking and running.

It will also involve clearing the eastern bank of the trail (around the perimeter of the lake), removing dead trees and brush to increase visibility and make this portion of the trail safer, and adding permanent trash receptacles and new seating areas along the entire trail.

Blair estimated the total cost to be around $100,000.   The grant, which will cover the bulk of the funding, will be delivered in either August or October, depending upon whether it is included in the 2016 or 2017 grant cycle.

Regardless, he expects the work to begin this year. The diversion dam should be completed quickly, but the clearing will be more extensive and will likely take several months.

This is just the latest step in the Lake Wallace Authority’s quest to improve the lake. A safety plan, which replaced the fencing, removed the old canteen building, added protective barriers and resurfaced and expanded the parking areas, is almost complete.

Future plans include adding more communal spaces around the lake, including shelters, grills, picnic tables and trash receptacles.

Early harvest

Marlboro County farmer McNiel Hinson harvested 27 acres of commercially grown snap (string) beans on Wednesday off Hebron-Dunbar Road. He grew the beans for Hanover Foods of Hanover, PA., who arranged for a harvesting company to gather the beans. Hinson then transported the picked beans to Pennsylvania for processing. Hinson also has 45 acres of snap beans planted in Dillon County. Doug Newton and Cade Baughman are other Marlboro County farmers who commercially grow the beans. Snap beans grow rapidly, producing large yields in a little over six weeks, allowing a second crop, such as soybeans, to be planted after them in the same season.

Photos by Dan McNiel

Airport fixed-base operator considering expansion in Florence

BY JOE PERRY Morning News

FLORENCE, S.C. – Fixed base operator Precision Air is pondering an expansion at Florence Regional Airport.

Precision Air is in charge of ground handling, maintenance and fueling operations under a 15-year contract with the Pee Dee Regional Airport Authority that began in March. Company representatives told board members Wednesday evening of their plans.

A 2,000-square-foot building that is undergoing renovations to become the new FBO hub and main point of entry for general aviation customers has an Aug. 20 target date for completion, said Todd Gibson, FBO manager. He also said a new 40,000-gallon fuel farm should be operational by July 15. Maintenance hangar doors that are 55 feet 8 inches wide for the 12,000-square-foot hangar need repairs and need to be widened to accommodate larger aircraft, he said. He raised the possibility of the authority covering costs of the repairs and Precision Air paying for the widening, which he said could save both entities money. One quote was $25,000, he said, and another was $31,500. He also said Precision Air has added staffers, has a new website up and running, has new uniforms in use, has had new utility poles installed to power equipment needed to service heavier aircraft and has ordered new signs.

Tim Summerow, vice president of operations for Precision Air parent company TKC Aerospace, said he wanted to advocate for the hangar door issue as well as a possible ramp expansion and additional taxiway space to allow for a “proper turnout” for aircraft dropping off and picking up passengers at the new FBO building. Corporate jets could offload and more easily and efficiently turn back onto the tarmac, he said. He also said that four government aircraft on site will require weekly servicing and maintenance and the expected revenue will be mutually beneficial.

“We’re very optimistic” that current capacity will soon be exceeded, he said, in floating the idea of a new T hangar.

Paving the new taxiway and ramp would cost somewhere “in the neighborhood” of $120,000, he said, but those projects are usually funded by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Authority Chairman Glen Greene asked Norwood Bonnoitt, who heads the FBO committee, if those issues would be taken up by his committee, and Bonnoitt agreed.

Joe Powell reported on the authority’s finances, telling fellow board members that May’s net income was $4,850 before depreciation and year-to-date is $97,000. That’s operating money, he said, and if grants and other revenues are included, the number is $260,000.