Rock Hill economic leaders cheered by job growth

The Rock Hill Economic Development Corp. is preparing for what one member called an “exciting” and “challenging” year, referring to job creation in the Old Town area, potential for development and projects such as Downtown East.

RHEDC held its annual meeting Thursday to review accomplishments during its fiscal year, which ran from June 2010 to June 2011.

Outgoing board chairwoman Bev Carroll said it’s always good to see when the corporation has helped have an impact in the area, despite economic woes across the nation.

She noted significant growths in jobs and investment in Rock Hill, including:

50 jobs and $3 million investment at TechPark

16 jobs and $10 million investment in Waterford Business Park, with more on the way, and

35 jobs and $3.5 million investment in Airport Industrial Park

In total, for the 2010-2011 fiscal year, Rock Hill saw the creation of more than 300 jobs and more than $100 million in private and public investments.

Carroll also touched on the completion of a trail at Riverwalk and the future construction of the Rock Hill Outdoor Center and the Velodrome.

Stephen Turner, the city’s economic development director, said in the next fiscal year, RHEDC will be “as busy as we’ve ever been.”

By August, the corporation expects to see construction bids for development on the old Woolworth building on East Main Street, which has been empty since the early 1990s.

Turner also noted potential job creation in the Old Town area and development at the Bleachery site. The city officially took ownership of the site in April, where the old Rock Hill Printing & Finishing Co. once stood, with the hope of attracting developers and continuing the revitalization of the “Textile Corridor” between downtown and Winthrop University.

Residents can expect to see more progress with the Downtown East project. The city and Comporium Communications are planning to create a green space with a fountain in the area of East Main, Saluda and Black streets and Elizabeth Lane.

More discussions are planned for the development of Saluda Street and improvements along White Street and the Textile Corridor.

By Nicole E. Smith, Staff Reporter with The Herald