New green space, affordable housing integral parts of downtown Greenville master plan

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GREENVILLE, SC – The city of Greenville is updating its Master Plan for Downtown, hoping to keep up with what could be around 6,000 more people moving to the area during the next 10 years.

“When you look at it fundamentally, what is downtown Greenville?” asked Mayor Knox White, looking out his glass window on the top floor of City Hall. “It’s about walk-ability, it’s also about the tree’s and the water,” he said.

White, wanting to keep the green in Greenville, said adding more green space around Falls Park and creating United Park are integral components of the Master Plan.

“Creating more green space downtown is a huge part – it’s  one of our priorities in fact, in our plan,’ White said Tuesday.

The final Downtown Master Plan was created by Urban Design Associates, a firm out of Pennsylvania, and was presented at the Greenville Chamber of Commerce during a meeting on May 29th.

Adding additional bike paths was one method listed as a means to opening up the area, allowing people to more easily get around downtown.

The plan also identified the Church Street corridor as a needed gateway into the downtown area, but as White indicated, it will require a bridge replacement.

Perhaps one of the largest projects is adding a conference center across from Embassy Suites that will hold office spaces, along with the possibility of a new art museum.

“Greenville [has a] great need to attract higher end conferences and higher end people who would come here, and perhaps bring businesses here and that type of thing,” said White, “but right now our conference center is over on 291 bypass. It needs to be located, very obviously, where the hotels and restaurants are.”

Affordable housing was also identified as a need in the report. 

White said that one option is to use city property, some surrounding various parking garages and lots, into affordable homes/

In addition, the top decks of parking garages may also be set aside for downtown employee parking.

According to Greenville’s Real Estate Development Manager, Mary Douglas Hirsch, keeping it all convenient is key.

“We’re encouraging affordable and workforce housing so people that work in the restaurants and hotels downtown they can live close in to the center city,” she told 7-News.

Although the Master Plan is complete in it’s final draft, it still has to go through committee and will need to be voted on by Greenville City Council in August.

For more information about Greenville’s Downtown Master Plan, click here.

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