County Info


March 27, 2017

North Eastern Strategic Alliance looks for great economic development in 2017

2016 was yet another year of growth for the North Eastern Strategic Alliance (NESA) region.

The region announced capital investments of $188.7 million and the creation of nearly 1,500 new jobs. Most of the announcements in 2016 were expansions of existing industries, which continues to show that companies that locate in the NESA region have great success.

Also of note, the region’s unemployment rate continues to show significant decline. As of December 2016, the region’s unemployment rate was at 5.4 percent. That is down almost 10 percent from January 2011 (15.1 percent). Although NESA doesn’t take credit for the sharp decline, we can say that continuing to strengthen our regional collaboration has paid huge dividends.

2017 is already shaping up to be a big year for NESA on the economic development front. Thus far, NESA has started the year off with record numbers of new leads and projects visiting the region. While there could be several existing industry expansions in 2017, we are hoping for a lot of new growth as well.

With a nudge in the right direction, the region has the potential to have one of its best years on record.

There are several factors to consider for the uptick in inquiries, but one we believe has had an immediate impact is the South Carolina Ports Authority announcement of a new inland port facility in Dillon. The port is a collaboration between the Ports Authority, CSX Railroad, Duke Energy, Marlboro Electric Cooperative, Dillon County and NESA. It is to be located in Dillon County, just a mile from Interstate 95 and near the junction of mainline north/south and westbound rail lines.

Having a port in the heart of the NESA region creates a plethora of opportunities for the region moving into the future. Companies seeking to gain a logistical advantage will not only have the benefit of nearby interstates and an extensive railway network, but a port within a very close proximity.

Another reason we believe that the region is seeing more looks this year is NESA’s continuous collaboration with our private sector members and county allies, which allows us to make effective investments in our region’s industrial site and building infrastructure. This helps make our region more competitive as we seek opportunities for new jobs and capital investment.

Over the years, we have worked with these groups to identify and develop industrial parks, complete engineering due diligence, and market these sites to our targeted industries. These efforts have and are paying dividends as we see companies showing renewed interest in our region and in our robust water, wastewater, natural gas, electrical, and telecommunications infrastructure. The region is ready to compete for medium and large industrial projects and our business development team is helping to develop a project pipeline for our region to keep a stream of jobs and new tax base flowing into the region.

While our region is on the move and great things are happening, NESA still needs the ongoing support and collaboration of its county members, private sector members and legislative delegation. Without their support, none of our efforts are possible.

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