Morgan Square debate: Businesses address concerns for street closure, others want it to stay open

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – Still no permanent solution in what has become a heated debate among downtown Spartanburg business owners. Part of Morgan Square has been closed to cars for nearly a year to accommodate outdoor seating at restaurants there. Now, one group wants Morgan Square to be permanently closed to vehicle traffic, another group wants the road to re-open. They previously told 7 News, the future of their business depends on it.

Division growing on the streets of downtown Spartanburg. That’s where a chunk of Main Street has been closed for nearly a year. A handful of restaurant owners want it to stay that way.

“Closing Morgan Square to traffic and making it a true town square is the best way forward for the city of Spartanburg,” said Co-Owner of Delaney’s Irish Pub, Brian Greene.

“When Main Street was closed down, we saw an immediate lift in our sales, about 50%,” said a Regional Director with Wild Wing Café at a Spartanburg City Council meeting.

However, some other business owners like Stephen Mills have told 7 News, the road closure has hit their businesses hard. He previously told us, a lot of his regulars have stopped coming to his salon because of less convenient parking options.

The woman who owns the building a couple doors down said during Monday night’s Spartanburg City Council meeting, she has seen the impact firsthand.

“I do business with a lot of the local shops down there and I know it has been very hard for them, the retail is just having a hard time surviving,” said Lisa Cato who owns a building on Morgan Square and also resides there.

Mills is just one of over two dozen retailers signing a petition, asking for the street to open back up to traffic.

Data collected by OneSpartanburg, Inc. shows foot traffic has gone up in the area. Also, initiatives have been put in place to help like a valet service.

However, business owners like Mills told us, they aren’t seeing a change but they are open to hybrid options.

“On the weekend, we close the street just for the restaurants and during the week, the street open for retail opportunity,” said a Main Street business owner.

Some city leaders mentioned they’re also interested in having that discussion. For now though, they’ll be talking with concerned merchants about what’s next.

The part of West Main Street in discussion runs between North Church and Magnolia Streets. It has been closed off since May 5 of 2020.

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