Greenville gentrification leaving some out


GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – New developments are going up on the west side of Greenville, but it could be pushing people out, and that’s a fear in some Greenville communities.

West Greenville has become a hot spot for developers recently.

But with all of the new condominiums and apartments being built, it’s making the West Greenville and West End communities a more expensive place to live, especially for people who’ve called it home for decades.

“I’m not talking down on change, sometimes you need better stuff, but you have to fit in the people who’ve been there all there life,” said Frederick Smith, who lives in the West Greenville community.

A group of community members has approached Greenville City Council to make sure long time residents, who are often members of the working poor, are not negatively impacted by the gentrification in the area.

“It’s forcing people who have lived in these communities all their lives to move out because they simply can’t afford to live where they’ve lived, anymore,” said Jalen Elrod, a community organizer.  

He and others have approached city council about implementing an impact tax. The impact fee would tax people who want to develop in the area. A portion of the money would go to sustaining affordable housing, or a developer would have to build a certain number of affordable units.

“There should be a healthy mix,” Elrod said. “There’s nothing wrong with a family who makes $20,000 a year living next to a family who makes upwards of $200,000 a year.”

City council said the fee is one of the options they’re looking into, but they hired an Affordable Housing consultant to make sure they are considering everything.

“Sometimes when you rush things, things get sloppy, so we really want to make sure we have something that’s sustainable that can help people out,” Greenville Mayor Pro Tem, Jil Littlejohn said.

City council members said the consultant they hired should have recommendations back to them by summer, and members hope to have a viable plan to vote on by the end of the year.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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