JASPER COUNTY, S.C. (WTOC) - A major development in the port project in Jasper County.
The state of South Carolina is handing its ownership of the project over to the county. A county councilmember says that means development can finally get going.
“Today, is the transfer of South Carolina’s ownership in the Jasper Ocean terminal site,” Jasper County Councilman Marty Sauls said.
South Carolina Port Authority sent the papers to Jasper County on Tuesday.
“Which would make Jasper County a 50 percent owner and Georgia Port Authority a 50 percent owner.”
Jasper County was able to obtain the property through an agreement made nearly a decade ago.
“Per the intergovernmental agreement that was established years ago, if they do not expeditiously develop the Jasper Ocean terminal, then the property rights are transferred to Jasper County. That’s what’s being done.”
The county believe South Carolina was willing to handover the property because they have focused their efforts on Charleston, S.C.
“We don’t believe they even anticipated future development of the Jasper Ocean Terminal.”
The county plans to work with the Georgia Ports Authority, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the private sector to bring the $5 billion development to the Lowcountry.
“It gives Jasper County an opportunity to make that a reality and work with our partners.”
The port is a 1500-acre piece of land that will be developed one section at a time.
There is no set time line on when we could see a groundbreaking at the ports, but the councilmember says this is a step in the right direction to bringing more industry to Jasper County.
But before this site can realize that potential a number of things have to happen.
Right now, the Army Corps of Engineers uses the JOT land as a dredge disposal site, and they have for years.
The federal government has what’s called a perpetual easement on the property, which allows the Army Corps of Engineers to fill in the land with soil dredged up from the bottom of the Savannah River. And the dredging activity has only expanded in recent years because of the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project.
So, while the relocation of soil from the bottom of the Savannah River wasn’t meant to establish a foundation for the future development of the Jasper Ocean Terminal, its doing just that.