Jasper Port Could Lead to Thousands of Jobs - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

04/05/06

Jasper Port Could Lead to Thousands of Jobs

The county would build on 1,800 acres along the Savannah River. The county would build on 1,800 acres along the Savannah River.

After a long legal battle, Jasper County is one step closer to building a multimillion dollar port on the Savannah River. That's after the South Carolina Supreme Court upheld the county's right to build and operate the proposed terminal on 1,800 acres along the river.

Now a lot of people are talking, especially since it could bring thousands of new jobs to the area. 

"This will be a big boost to Jasper County's economy and the surrounding counties," said Dr. George Hood, chairman of the county council.

And if it becomes a reality, it could mean a lot of high-paying jobs for this poor county. "Low-end jobs, minimum-wage jobs, no benefits, we have enough of them," said resident Sherri Towland. "We need something that people can live on, make a living."

County officials say the port itself could bring 500 new jobs, and another 90,000 to the area.

And after the Supreme Court ruled in Jasper County's favor this week, the Technical College of the Low Country is excited to get started.

"The first thing I did was call the new academic vice president and said, 'Hey, I want you to call this college and this college and any other college you can think of that have ports in their service areas.'" said Dr. Anne McNutt, president of TCL.

With their new river campus opening this fall, TCL officials are hoping one day this is where they'll be training the port's workforce, and they want to be ready.

"For us, it means we need to do the training for the building of the port and the operation of the port, so we're already looking and talking with other community colleges that have ports in their backyards," said Dr. McNutt.

But of course, Jasper County still has a few more hoops to jump through before this dream becomes a reality. They've already filed a lawsuit to condemn the terminal site, which is owned by the Georgia Department of Transportation. County officials tell us they are trying to move forward with the condemnation and are willing to work with the State of Georgia to make this happen.

We talked with Georgia DOT, but officials wouldn't comment because this whole issue is still in litigation.

Reported by: Jaime Dailey, jdailey@wtoc.com

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