Georgetown steel mill to open doors again

GEORGETOWN, SC (WCSC) - An old empty mill sits silent in the middle of downtown Georgetown, but not for long.

The ArcelorMittal steel mill in Georgetown is preparing to reopen. On Thursday, the president of the steel workers union announced that the mill, which once employed around 250 people, will begin cranking out steel products again by January.

"The decision has been made to re-open Georgetown," said James Sanderson to the Sun Times. Sanderson is the president of the steel workers union.

Georgetown Mayor Jack Scoville says he hopes the re-opening will re-stimulate the city's economy.

"The steel mill is the largest purchaser of water. They were buying about 700,000 gallons per day from the city," Scoville said.

The mill will also bring back almost 250 jobs to the area. Scoville predicts the re-opening will cut Georgetown County's unemployment rate by two or three percent.

Some residents say they are ready to see their friends and neighbors get back to work. However, a handful of residents think the mill is an eyesore.

"We're tired of living here and our houses turning brown, our cars look nasty. The noise factor all night long," a Georgetown resident said.

Sanderson says it is worth reopening to put the people of Georgetown back to work.

He also said the first round of employees will go back to work in two to three weeks.  Those employees will be doing maintenance work to bring the mill up to safety codes.

Sanderson told the Sun News that to keep the mill open, the Georgetown Port would have to be dredged.

The ArcelorMittal steel mill has been closed since July, 2009.

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