County gets $724K grant to help create 153 new jobs

Lancaster County has been awarded a $724,400 federal grant to facilitate the $18 million expansion of a local manufacturer that will create 153 new jobs.
The U.S. Commerce Department announced Thursday that the money will help pay for improvements to an existing county road, though the road isn’t named.
“Reliable infrastructure systems are critical… and that’s particularly true for growing areas like Lancaster County in my district,” said U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, who was quoted in the Commerce Department release.
“I’m excited about grants like this because they help fund improvements needed to accommodate business growth. In turn, those businesses bring new jobs and private investment to our area. In other words, there’s a return on our investment,” said Norman, a Rock Hill Republican who represents the 5th District.
Just like the unnamed road, the business is also a mystery, though the Commerce release calls “an existing automotive manufacturing business.”
Local officials won’t identify the manufacturer.
“We aren’t in a position yet to reveal who it is. An announcement will be made in the upcoming months,” said county Economic Development Director Jamie Gilbert.
“We just won’t say until the time is right,” said county council Chairman Steve Harper.
The county must provide a $181,000 match in order to get the federal grant.
One of four
There are four automotive-related manufacturers in the county. Continental Tire has its North American headquarters at MacMillan Business Park in Indian Land. Fab Fours, which makes high-end aftermarket bumpers and accessories for trucks and SUVs, is located in Foster Industrial Park off Riverside Road.
The headquarters of AkzoNobel, a paint and film plastics specialty company that creates coatings used in automobiles, marine products, furniture and architectural signs, is on S.C. 9 Bypass West.
And CocoMats, which makes custom automotive floor mats for high-end luxury cars, is on Zimmer Road in Indian Land.
Gilbert said the expansion is code-named “Project Dumpling,” a economic-development project that the county has been working to land for more than a year.
Since November, county council has unanimously approved two of the three required ordinance readings that allow Project Dumpling to move forward.
The public hearing on Project Dumping was held at last Monday’s council meeting, but no one spoke. The final reading, which was also scheduled, was postponed.  Gilbert missed Monday’s meeting. He was in Houston with the I-77 Alliance on an unrelated economic recruiting trip.

By Gregory A. Summers, Staff Reporter with The Lancaster News