GREENVILLE COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – A historic Black neighborhood is continuing their battle against a bus maintenance facility.
Members of the New Washington Heights Neighborhood Association said the placement of the facility violates an agreement they’ve had with Greenville County leaders.
“That is hurting, disgusting and horrible,” said Charity Jones, Director for the Neighborhood Association
With construction beginning on a new Greenlink bus maintenance facility, on Arcadia Drive, in Greenville County, members of the association said they’re not backing down without a fight.
“Any given time at 6 o’clock in the morning, or anytime soon after that, we’re awakened by our floors moving like a mini earthquake,” said Angela Aiken, spokesperson for the association.
These residents said the county, the city and the transit authority are destroying a historic Black community.
“Was down in Mississippi, was that the last slave ship to dock? I would tell you no, Greenlink is the last slave ship to dock,” stated Aiken.
In 2013, the association said Greenville County approved a master plan for their community, preserving the history and green space.
Residents 7NEWS spoke with said they view the plan as an agreement with county leaders. To them, it’s been violated.
“I’m not sure I can agree with that, 2013 is 10 years ago, things change, situations evolve,” said Butch Kirven.
Greenville County Councilman Butch Kirven was on council in 2013. He said this is important to everyone and their intention is to create a community asset.
“I’m very sensitive to the neighborhood, but at the same time, if we don’t have an improved Greenville transit system for the entire community, it’s going to be everyone’s loss,” said Kirven.
Kirven said this area is the only option for Greenlink.
“There’s nothing racial about it, there was no intent to do that,” he said. “I think the transit folks, [Greenville Transit Authority], Greenlink, have done everything they possibly can, and continue to do, to work with the neighborhood.”
The neighborhood association has a list of demands, including an immediate stop to construction. They’d also like the county and the city to pay $5.7 million, each, in restitution.
They said they want the county to pay the New Washington Heights Neighborhood Association.
“For deliberately disengaging and dissolving the master plan created specifically for New Washington Heights,” said Paul Guy, Director for Justice Intervention Initiative.
They want city funds to go towards the residents.
“For recklessly creating a hostile environment,” said Guy.
They also want the director of the Greenville Transit Authority replaced. Until that happens, they plan to boycott.
“We shall institute an economic blockade of the Greenville city entertainment district,” said Guy.
The association is asking that no dollars from the African-American community be spent inside the district starting this Saturday.
As for legal matters, the association had filed an injunction in December, but during a hearing they said happened Tuesday, they were told they needed to file as individuals, not as an association.
Now, they’re refiling.