UNION COUNTY — The construction of a new road to help promote economic development move a step closer to reality this week with the passage of an ordinance bringing Midway Drive back into the county road system.
In May 2011, ESAB, Inc., a global producer of a wide array of welding and cutting applications, entered into a lease-to-own agreement with Union County and the City of Union to lease Midway Drive and the old Midway plant. Midway Drive was at the time part of the county road system while the building was owned by the city.
Under the terms of the agreement, ESAB pays a monthly leasing fee to the city and the county for the duration of the agreement at the end of which the company would own the property.
After entering into agreement with the county and the city, ESAB, spent $19 million to renovate and equip the 260,000-square-foot Midway plant to produce high performance MIG and sub-arc welding wire. ESAB, which has a workforce of more than 9,000 in 122 manufacturing facilities on four continents, employs 101 people at its Midway facility.
Nearly three years after it entered into the agreement with the county and the city, ESAB, while still retaining the building, is returning Midway Drive to the county.
Union County Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve third and final reading of an ordinance amending the lease agreement with ESAB to allow Midway Drive back into the county road system.
The return of Midway Drive to the county system is part of the county’s plans to promote economic development by building a new road, including a tractor-trailer pull off lane, from it to an industrial park adjacent to ESAB owned by Pacolet Milliken.
Earlier this year, Supervisor Tommy Sinclair said the county will use Utility Tax Credits provided by Lockhart Power to help finance the construction of road to the industrial park which he said is a state-certified industrial site. He said the construction of the road will make the industrial park more attractive to industry.
In other business, council voted unanimously to approve first reading of the 2014-2015 Union County Budget Ordinance.
The reading of the ordinance marks the beginning of the annual budget process.
The county is currently operating under the 2013-2014 budget which totals $12,757,412 in expenditures and revenues.