S.C. Rep. Mike Pitts (R-Laurens) presented Laurens County officials with a $900,000 check this past week earmarked for the construction of a Laurens County Sheriff’s Office precinct and emergency-services building for Northern Laurens County.
Pitts presented the check to Laurens County Council Chairman Joe Wood at Friday’s annual Legislative Breakfast.
The proposed building will be located in the Gray Court area on land donated for the facility by ZF Transmissions.
Laurens County Administrator Jon Caime said the planned facility will help give the county needed resources in an area poised for industrial and residential growth.
“It’s a high-growth area up there in that part of the county,” Caime said, noting that the planned building will also house a ladder truck currently located at the Gray Court fire station. “The project is state funded, so the county is not planning on spending any funds on it.”
Caime said officials from the county and ZF Transmissions have held quarterly meetings to address concerns about response times from fire and EMS services as well as the LCSO. The LCSO has already gone to a zoning plan for patrols wherein officers stay in certain zones to cover the 750-square-mile county under Sheriff Don Reynolds, who assumed office in January, but Caime said introducing a precinct in that area of the county would help the LCSO accomplish its mission.
“I think council has done a great job at being proactive,” Caime said. “With this addition, emergency services up in that area are ideally set up for all the growth that’s coming. If we’re able to provide those services at a higher level, it will help promote growth.”
Caime referred to Piedmont, located on the I-85 corridor on the border of Greenville and Anderson counties, as a cautionary tale as city leaders struggle to provide services after experiencing rapid population growth over the past few years.
In addition to being an industry leader in Laurens County, Caime said German-born ZF Transmissions is part of a Foreign Trade Zone linked to the Inland Ports Authority in Greer and the Ports Authority in Charleston by the U.S. government, making its security of particular interest to state leaders.
Caime pointed to a new 60-acre subdivision set to break ground in early 2018 as a sign of impending growth in that area of the county. The 70-lot subdivision is to be located at I-385 and Friendship Church Road near Gray Court.
“Whether it’s industry or residential or commercial growth, we want to make sure they’ve got the services that they need in that area,” Caime said. “Having that (emergency services) building there is going to be a great asset for the county.”