‘Great opportunities’ available for city

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 28, 2003

&uot;This is the most activity we’ve seen taking place in Greenville since I joined the city council in 1988.

It’s a great window of opportunity.&uot;

So proclaimed Mayor Dexter McLendon as he shared the latest news on the booming business growth in the Camellia City Monday night.

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The occasion was the Greenville Lions Club Annual Banquet. McLendon and Milton Park of Hwashin were the organization’s special guests for the evening.

&uot;Just take a look down Highway 31 where the Hwashin plant is going to be built—there is a lot of dirt that’s been moved.

Things are moving quickly,&uot; McLendon noted, adding,

&uot;A contractor is going to be decided on in the next few days. [Hwashin] should be ready to start construction in July…we should see them start hiring in the next few weeks.&uot;

He reminded everyone of the impact both Hwashin and Hyundai Hysco, which is 70 percent owned by Hyundai, will have on the area.

&uot;Hwashin is bringing us 400 jobs and a $70 million investment in the community…Hyundai Hysco will supply 125 jobs and a $30 million investment…without a doubt, Greenville is going to grow,&uot; McLendon noted. .

According to the mayor, the city’s distinction of being the first city in the state to land two Tier One Hyundai suppliers is far from the end of the story.

&uot;We had a Tier One supplier here today and the meeting went very well.

I can tell you we are definitely on their short list…we have a great opportunity to have three or four Tier One suppliers in this city,&uot; noted McLendon.

Finding a place to live is causing some problems for new arrivals to the area.

&uot;The biggest obstacle&uot;, the mayor said, &uot;is the lack of rental housing for our Korean friends…to find a nice rental home in Greenville is a very difficult thing.

So, many of these families are moving into apartments at Cambrian Forest.&uot;

However, new lakefront housing options could be on the horizon for those seeking a home to buy, the mayor said.

&uot;…There are plans to build a 40-acre lake on the other side of the golf course,&uot; McLendon said.

&uot;To give you an idea of what that lake’s size will be, Sherling Lake is 26 acres,&uot; he added.

McLendon believes Greenville is &uot;ideally&uot; situated for those Hyundai and Tier One employees who want to enjoy small town living in a scenic locale.

&uot;Sure, Wynn Lakes [subdivision] in Montgomery in very nice…but commute time is a lot longer from Wynn Lakes to the Hyundai plant, than from here in Greenville.

You don’t have the traffic problems,&uot; McLendon noted, adding, &uot;I think we’re going to see some beautiful homes going up on the other side of Cambrian Ridge.&uot;

McLendon admits the price of bringing business and retail expansion, including the Super Wal-Mart, to the Camellia City is a &uot;high&uot; one.

&uot;It does cost a lot to be able to do all this—buying land, moving dirt.

We are doing everything we can to get grants.

That helps; still, it’s not a cheap process.

But it IS going to pay off in the long run,&uot; the mayor emphasized.

McLendon says he is gratified to see everyone’s hard work beginning to pay off for the city. &uot;I know I’ve never worked harder on anything in my entire life…but it is coming together.

As Hyundai grows, Hwashin grows; Hysco grows; so grows the city of Greenville,&uot; McLendon stated.

Milton Park, representing Hwashin Corporation, expressed the company’s enthusiasm about locating in Greenville.

He said they would be looking for qualified local citizens to fill managerial positions.

&uot;It is our company’s policy to first try to do business and to fill jobs with local people whenever possible, then move on to a statewide level,&uot; Park explained.

McLendon noted the company’s policy will also benefit local businesses that could potentially supply furnishings and other needs to the new plant.

When asked what the average hourly wage for Hwashin workers would be, Park responded, &uot;That will depend on the specific job and the degree of skill…some will make more than others.

I would say, at least $10 to $12 an hour.&uot;

McLendon noted how hard the Korean executives have worked in partnership with local businesses and civic leaders.

&uot;These folks are very detail-oriented…they spend a lot of time working to insure they make the right decision,&uot; he said.

&uot;We are happy to have [the Korean companies] here and they are happy to be here…this is an exciting time,&uot; McLendon added.