Why Spartanburg and not Oconee?
A representative of the South Carolina Department of Commerce, speaking in Oconee County, would not directly answer a question today as to whether a Japanese company had ever considered Oconee as a location for its next global manufacturing plant. Nor would Allison Skipper say if Oconee County had even been under consideration. However, Richard Blackwell followed Skipper to the stage and said Oconee was considered, but was ruled out. Blackwell, the county economic development recruiter, said Oconee had neither a facility large enough for Toray’s $1 billion investment, including 500 jobs, nor does it have a large enough water supply to accommodate the size of the plant required. Skipper and Blackwell were among the speakers for the annual State of Oconee luncheon, sponsored by the chambers of commerce. The event drew about 200 people to Seneca’s Blue Ridge Elementary School.