GEORGETOWN COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Georgetown City Council members voted to rezone its steel mill property from heavy industrial to mixed-use if the mill is idle for 365 straight days, a clock which doesn't start if the mill sits empty because of a strike or work dispute.
It will not affect the reopening of the recently purchased property.
The ordinance is described by current Georgetown Mayor Jack Scoville as a backup plan.
The United Steelworkers Georgetown chapter is threatening to sue City Council, as well as the individual members that voted in favor of the ordinance, because they say one calendar year is not enough.
"365 days to us is detrimental to the overall well being of the workers and the community in Georgetown," said President of the United Steelworkers Union Georgetown Chapter James Sanderson.
Liberty House finalized the purchase of the old Arcellor Mittal mill Monday.
"I had a big smile on my face like, well, here we go again Georgetown Steel," Georgetown resident Gerard Grant said.
Grant is a hopeful applicant of the steel mill.
"It will be operating by the end of the first quarter," Sanderson said, adding 125 employees are expected to be hired in the immediate future.
By the end of the second quarter in 2018, 250 employees are expected to be hired.
"We're looking for it to be more than that once Liberty has the chance to look at the market," Sanderson said.
Grant is one of those prospective hires.
He worked for the Arcellor Mittal steel mill in 2015.
"I know the area from the front end to the back end of the mill," Grant said.
Grant said things haven't been the easiest since the mill closed. He said he has been going from one job to the next.
"I was working from here to there trying to maintain and take care of my family," Grant said.
He's hopeful for, not just a job at the mill, but his career back.
"A lifetime job in Georgetown. We need the mill here. We need it back," Grant said.
"From 2015 to now, there have been ups and downs but we did not give up. We kept pushing and good things come to those who wait," Sanderson said.
For more information about the sale of the steel mill from Arcellor Mittal to Liberty House Steel, we have the details posted here.