GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The future of the Augusta Road area has been a topic of discussion for Greenville County Council for about three years but council members said they are now moving forward with a strategic plan.

“We did not have a gateway into downtown going north on I-85,” Greenville County council member Ennis Fant said. “Based on the decline in that area we figured we would do a gateway and upscale it and make it Greenville County’s first urban development district.”

Fant said the project proposes retail, commercial, green space, workforce housing, and recreational facilities.

“People can live, work, and recreate in the same location thus reducing Greenville’s carbon footprint,” Fant said.

Fant said there will be no gentrification to the area.

“The people who are there now living in those motels will be transitioned into supportive housing in the same location where they will get assistance with helping them find jobs, transportation, financial skills so they can re-acclimate into the larger community.” Fant said.

The county said the current quality of housing is low and believed it is contributing to high rates of crime in the area.

Greenville County Council also said the lack of retail, restaurants, and grocery stores has created a food desert.

“It is a very large district – and underserved district – but by that same token, an opportunity for growth,” said George Singleton, member of the Augusta Road Steering Committee. “Having land, jobs, the capacity and hopefully at some point the capital to create opportunities is what I’m hoping to see.”

The county said public and private investment will aid in revitalizing the area.