Good Happens When You Focus On Your Parks

What happens when a city tears down an overpass and focuses on a park?

The city has a beautiful, natural waterfall smack in the middle of its downtown that was hidden for decades by a concrete overpass, warehouses and boarded-up buildings. White took some political heat, but convinced the city to fund a 20-acre public garden around the waterfall and a suspension foot bridge above.

“The park cost $13 million,” White says. “Within two years, over $100 million in private investment was created around the park — hotels, restaurants, condominiums, apartments. The entire, what we call the West End of our downtown, just blossomed.”

That was 2004, and crowds have been steady since. The timing was perfect: Development money was easy to come by, and projects were well under way when the recession hit. Greenville was one of the rare downtowns where cranes and construction crews worked right through the economy’s darkest days.

To attract developers, the city pays for green space and parking garages connected to projects. White has even been known to line up land and funding for companies. He’s Greenville’s chief cheerleader, but only 1 of 7 votes on the City Council, split 4 to 3, Republican to Democrat. Those lines don’t mean much, though, says Democratic Councilwoman Gaye Sprague.

Click here to read the rest from NPR.

And then hang your head in shame over what your elected “leaders” are doing to Waterfront Park.

2 thoughts on “Good Happens When You Focus On Your Parks

  1. In the new ORBP alternative, apparently they aren’t expanding I-64 at downtown over Waterfront Park, but of course, at the same time, the park will compromised on the east side.

    Of course, in this alternative, the current downtown I-64 is all but locked in for generations to come. That’s the bad part.

    (If there’s something I’m missing, fill it in, somebody.)

  2. I’m from Greenville and the park and the overall emphasis on creating a people oriented downtown has totally changed the face of the community in the last 30 years. The downtown is always bustling with activity everyday, into the evening. The park, which snakes around all of downtown and includes Swamp Rabbit multi use trail is truly an accomplishment.

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