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The City of Greer received the Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Award for Economic Development for the inland port. Officials accepted the award during the Municipal Association of South Carolina's 74th Annual Meeting on July 12. Twenty-six cities and towns submitted their projects and initiatives.
The idea for the port in Greer was born when global trade in the Port of Charleston began to pick up speed after years of deep recession. Located on both the Norfolk Southern Railroad and Interstate 85, Greer was the ideal location for the state's first inland port.
City officials acted quickly and committed to the port, knowing it would be an economic boon for Greer, as well as the Upstate region as a whole. With a $3.5 million loan, the City of Greer and the Greer Commissions of Public Works designed and will build a substation to provide electricity to the Inland Port and to serve additional industrial customers as the area around the port grows. City building officials expedited reviewing plans, processing permits and performing inspections to keep the project on track.
Many state and private entities contributed to the massive project, which resulted in a 400,000 square-foot warehouse and 300 new jobs. The City of Greer greatly expanded its tax base by annexing the Inland Port property. The port has also benefitted the entire state by removing an estimated 25,000 trucks from the road annually, which means less fuel being burned and less wear and tear on the state's highways.
"Seven months after breaking ground, the Inland Port offloaded its first cargo partially because of the swift work of city officials from Greer. This is tremendous work on the part of city officials," said Miriam Hair, executive director for the Municipal Association.
These winning entries represent innovative projects undertaken by Municipal Association member cities and towns. More information and a video about the project are available on the Association's website.  
The Municipal Association of South Carolina initiated the Achievement Awards in 1987 to recognize and encourage innovations and excellence in local government. In 2014, the economic development award was named in honor of Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. in recognition of his decades-long commitment to the economic development of South Carolina.