House of Raeford chicken plant is a golden egg for West Columbia
COLUMBIA (WACH) --– The Chicken Processing plant in West Columbia has been around for as long as many in the area can remember.
Riverfront location, horrendous smell, eyesore, and deplorable working conditions, are just some of the gripes locals have with the plant.
It's a sight that many people see along Sunset Blvd in West Columbia.
Live chickens coming into the House of Raeford.
As a matter of fact, the chickens might end up at a dinner table near you.
The plant has been part of the community for more than 15 years.
But for some the smell that comes from here needs to be plucked out.
“I think it’s a deterrent to the River Walk, I really don’t have much of an opinion other than that it’s just a distasteful odor,” says local resident.
“It’s always better to have fresh air when your running,” says local resident.
Some people believe this plant should shake a tail feather and get moving.
They say the smell and the look of the plant could affect future business.
West Columbia Mayor Bobby Horton says not so.
“We really don’t have an empirical data to indicate that that’s an issue. It’s a possibility but there’s really no way to know that,” says Bobby Horton, Mayor of West Columbia.
The company is aware of the issues.
I spoke with someone in management through email.
He tells me they have addressed many concerns people have.
Just to name a few:
Has repainted, power washed and removed clutter from the plant.
They also now have daily trash pickup -- which keeps the amount of trash down.
They also made significant modifications to the appearance of the plant.
However just recently a zoning request made by the company was denied by city officials.
That request was to have an additional room for electrical panels.
Those panels would help reduce the load tied to their transformers.
The company also says they are always actively considering new and innovative approaches to the operation.
Right now there are at least two developments within feet from the plant.
Some new townhomes and another housing construction.
“This plant has been a good corporate citizen. It’s a good tax payer and it’s a good employer,” says Mayor Horton.
So just how good is this golden egg?
A House of Raeford spokesperson tells me the plant is responsible for 800 jobs, which helps to keep the unemployment rate down in the area.
The company pays more than $400,000 in property taxes.
And they spend nearly $2 million a year for water and sewer that helps to reduce the need for tax increases.
The email also details they will operate our processing plant in the best way possible for the good of the community and our company.
As for the mayor he's hoping that people will soon understand what's good for the goose is good for the gander.