Chapin Technology Park Timeline Raises Concerns

What's happening with the Chapin Technology Park

Chapin, SC (WLTX) - Lexington County says they are working on developing the Chapin Technology Park.

However, property owners have shown concern that the project is nearly three years late.

"The road is three years late, three years!" says Stewart Mungo during a recent special called meeting with Lexington County Council. He says he wanted to discuss his contract in private, during executive session, but was asked to speak publicly. "The sewer line is almost three years late."

Mungo has two agreements with the county, where he gave them property for the Chapin Technology Park, and in return the county agreed to let him use the roadways and tap into the sewer line.
 
"It was a fair deal for everyone," says Mungo.

According to his contracts with the county, both the sewer line and road was to be completed by 2014.

The county also told taxpayers that it would be up and running by 2016.

When News 19 asked about the progress of the park, the county responded with this statement:

"The County is working diligently to develop the Chapin Business and Technology Park at Brighton and create a prosperous lifestyle that will spur responsible growth in the Chapin area.

Developing a technology park from the ground up is a methodical and industrious process, during which the County is being conscientious of the taxpayers’ dollar, while taking advantage of all government funding made available to the County.

County staff is working to ensure that all amenities offered by the park are of the highest quality. Due to the County's diligent work, we have every reason to believe these amenities would be made available to any potential tenant that wishes to locate their business in the park. Therefore, we are actively marketing and showing the park to all potential tenants."

"I'm relatively new on council and there has been different answers for all of the questions," says Councilwoman Erin Long Bergeson.

She represents the Chapin area and says whatever the issue is, taxpayers should be made aware.

"It's ok to say hey we're behind schedule because we re-bid it to save money," says Bergeson. "People would love to hear that. If that's true then lets say that."

Councilwoman Bergeson says she wants the already $13 Million project to be as transparent as possible.
 
"I believe that there has been some lack of oversight and follow through and I believe that at every level at County Council, administration at the economic development office, I think that we are all responsible," says Bergeson. "We just need to tell the citizens, own it and then move forward."

Council Chair Todd Cullum also responded with a statement saying:

"Council set a budget in late 2012 of approximately $13.9 million to construct the park.  To date we are within that budget. Only recently were we able to bid certain aspects of the park and still were able to stay within four-year-old construction numbers. Nobody in this day and time can get anything constructed in 2017 on 2012 dollars. 

Further, the management of the park during development was controlled by former Chairman of Council Johnny Jeffcoat.  Each decision on expenditures and development questions were reviewed by Chairman Jeffcoat and his direct report on the project, former Economic Development Director Chuck Whipple.

To be clear, all monetary decisions on the park were properly bid and voted on by council, which votes included Councilmen Yarborough and Tolar. Our County Administrator has only recently been asked to oversee the management role of the park, since the departure of the former Economic Development Director in November 2016.

During his tenure, the County Administrator has done an exemplary job in managing over 1,700 employees and a multitude of projects. Furthermore, he and his staff have submitted solid budgets that continuously advance the County's potential and future.
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© 2017 WLTX-TV


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