Congaree National Park reports a record 143,843 visitors in 3016, a 39.2 percent increase over 2015. Visitors participated in a variety of park activities and numerous special events including a Bioblitz, National Park Service Centennial programs, and the 40th Anniversary of the park.
Free tech program proposed
A program that will pay for Greenwood County high school graduates to attend technical college this fall could become a catalyst for free tech colleges across South Carolina. A statewide, $76 million proposal to pay the tuition and fees for recent S.C. high school graduates to attend technical college has been proposed in the State Legislature.
Fire risk high for Columbians
The City of Columbia ranks 41st among the Top 50 cities in the nation whose residents have a high risk for a house fire, according to a survey by The Hartford, a property and casualty insurance agency. The survey found that Columbians “engage in potentially risky fire safety behavior,” such as charging a device on their bed.
Foundation firm has new owner
Columbia-based Mount Valley Foundation Services is being acquired by JES Companies. Both privately owned businesses have been in operation for several decades and specialize in residential and commercial foundation repair, crawl space encapsulation, basement waterproofing, and concrete leveling.
Resort seeks bankruptcy protection
Four companies affiliated with a Utah business that owns the resort on Daufuskie Island are seeking bankruptcy protection. The property includes an inn, beach cottages, a golf course, and a ferry boat landing. Court filings show that lenders are owed nearly $35 million.
Washington Street getting new bar
The Aristocrat, a new wine and craft cocktail bar, is opening at the end of the month at 1001 Washington Street, the former site of Kelly’s Deli and Pub. The bar features specialty cocktails, a big wine list, and a small tapas-style menu.
County breaks tourism records
Spartanburg County broke tourism records in 2016, with visitors spending more than $390 million. The county now ranks seventh in the state for economic impact, and tourism played a major part in this ranking, said Chris Jennings, of the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
GIS sells controlling interest
General Atlantic, a New York equity firm, has purchased a controlling interest in Chapin-based General Information Services, a provider of background screening and talent acquisition services. GIS employs 1,100 people and also has operations in Dallas and Columbia.
Arena ranked among nation’s best
Columbia’s Colonial Life Arena ranked fourth in the nation’s highest-grossing university arenas for 2016, Venues Today, a nationally distributed magazine focusing on the sports and entertainment industry. Colonial Life attracted 208,107 patrons for 46 shows, grossing $7,706,754 in the period from December 1, 2015 to November 30, 2016.
Online job vacancies decline
February’s online advertised job vacancies in South Carolina decreased by 3,200 positions to 61,100, according to The Conference Board Help Wanted OnLine Data Series. Online ads for jobs declined by 90,600 across the South region in February, the board reported.
City owes Retirement System
The City of West Columbia owes $16.7 million in unfunded liability to the S.C. Retirement System, according to an annual financial report by Bill Hancock, a CPA with The Brittingham Group. The amount the city owes grew by $1.5 million from 2015 to 2016 even though the city’s finance department managed its budget as well as it could have, Hancock says.
Seawalls to remain in place
Siding with coastal property owners, South Carolina’s environmental protection board is refusing to ban experimental seawalls that its own staff says are contributing to beach erosion and threatening rare sea turtles. The board vote allows property owners at four developments on Isle of Palms and Harbor Island to keep the seawalls in place for at least a year.
Union manufacturer expanding
Gestamp North America, a Spanish manufacturer of metal automotive components is spending $129 million to build an additional 300,000 square feet to its facility in Union.
Expansion to create 100 jobs
AVX Corp., a provider of electronic components for a variety of applications, is creating 100 new jobs through a $35 million expansion of its plant in Fountain Inn.
Solar farm coming to Orangeburg
Southern Current, LLC, a Charleston company that specializes in long-term solar energy projects, today is launching a $10 million solar energy project in Orangeburg County. The project will be an eight-megawatt direct current facility expected to be fully operational by the end of 2017.
Job training program expands
The Second Chance job training program of the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce and the state Department of Corrections has been expanded into the Camille Griffin Graham Correctional Institution for women in Columbia. In more than two years, 765 people have completed the program designed to help inmates learn a skill and find a job after release.