Southern Black Farming: Robert Jackson, Jackson Farms II Spartanburg County SC
Jackson Farms II is one of the few black owned farms in the upstate. Robert Jackson is one of 70 black producers in Spartanburg County, where about 2,300 farmers work.
Jessica Gallagher, Greenville News
Spartanburg County Councilor Monier Abusaft says he often hears how the county supports big businesses with tax breaks but does little for the small ones — particularly black-owned small businesses.
That changed Monday night when County Council unanimously agreed to spend $45.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding on 10 projects, including $6 million for OneSpartanburg, Inc. to fill gaps in of racial justice and to support small and minority-owned businesses.
“People often come to this council and talk about how they only focus on big companies, that we don’t share in the prosperity in general,” Abusaft said. “I daresay what we just did was the largest single investment in small business by any government agency in Spartanburg.”
Spartanburg County received $62.1 million in ARPA, or Covid relief, funds last year. In addition to the $45.8 million in spending approved Monday, the county council earlier this year approved $4.5 million for broadband rollout in rural parts of the county. With $50.3 million allocated, $11.8 million remains to be approved.
Of the 10 projects approved Monday, $5 million will go towards building a new animal shelter the county is calling a “pet resource center.”
District Administrator Cole Alverson said the scope of the project will be presented to the district council by consultant Sara Pizano of Team Shelter USA in Pompano Beach, Fla. on Wednesday, November 30 at 3 p.m. in the council chambers.
The total cost of the project and how it might be funded can be announced at this time.
Spartanburg County wants to increase the number of black-owned businesses
Tudi Holmes, a black businesswoman who owns a real estate company, spoke out in favor of the ARPA plan during a public hearing. She said helping others like her will help one of OneSpartanburg’s main goals of recruiting talent.
“Small businesses are the engine that drives our economy,” she said.
In its $6 million request, OneSpartanburg, Inc. cited data showing that the number of non-employer Black-owned businesses in the county was nearly 30% below the national average.
“Data suggests that the community would benefit from an approach aimed at helping black and minority residents start and grow businesses,” according to the chamber’s Vision Plan 2.0, released last March .
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Specifically, the plan proposes providing the skills entrepreneurs need to start, sustain and grow a business, provide a resource network to expand access to capital and customers, establish a targeted small business loan fund, and leverage local marketing firms to make it easier to get started. heights from the ground.
“If you’re a young Black entrepreneur in Spartanburg County or a young person who wants to start a small business, Spartanburg County is open to you,” Abusaft said. “This money will change the lives of some people.”
More details on Spartanburg County’s ARPA fund distribution
The largest amount, $24.8 million, will go to Spartanburg Water for planned wastewater projects in the southwest and north of the county, where rapid growth is expected.
Other projects to be funded include $2.5 million for stormwater improvements, $2.5 million for rot elimination and affordable housing, and $2.5 million for road projects.
The bulk of the demolished buildings in the county are in the Una, Saxon, Arcadia region, where the county plans to demolish 100 of the 156 demolished buildings to make way for future affordable housing projects.
New road improvement projects include Blalock, Hammett Store and Meadowbrook streets, as well as improvement at the Zion Hill and Sloans Grove intersections.