The future of Greenwood’s downtown should reflect what the people of Greenwood want it to be — that was the basic principle behind Thursday evening’s City Center Master Plan open house.
Hosted at The Mill House, city officials and representatives from the Spartanburg-based Toole Design group let residents browse over various options for the future of Uptown. Presentation boards offered visitors the chance to browse through different approaches to designing Uptown: from focusing on how people travel through Greenwood to the types of businesses and attractions people want to see Uptown.
Guests were asked to give their input, either through placing stickers on the objectives they most identified with or by writing down on poster board and sticky notes suggestions for Greenwood’s central hub.
Helen Nazzaro jotted down that she’d like to see a coffee shop return to the Uptown area, while her husband, Jim, said he wants to see any expansion to Uptown keep the same aesthetic as the classic brick facades the area has now.
“I grew up in Mt. Pleasant, which has completely overbuilt, so I’m glad they’re taking input here,” Helen said.
All the options the city is exploring are built off of the 2003 master plan, which culminated in the revitalization of Maxwell Avenue and the building of the Uptown Market. City Manager Julie Wilkie said capitalizing on that momentum is the city’s interest, but it must come with a focus on learning what residents want out of their downtown.
“The city center is obviously where you want your citizens to gather,” she said. “We’re focused on figuring out what the public wants and that we serve their interests.”
Uptown Manager Lara Hudson said getting public backing is critical, even at this early information-gathering stage.
“Without community buy-in, nothing we do is going to be successful,” she said.
That’s why the consultants with Toole Design have worked to make every step of this process transparent and open for feedback from residents. Chris Lambka with Toole said the goal for Main Street is for its design to reflect a “people-focused” perspective.
“We’re paying attention to how people travel throughout the city, whether it’s by walking, biking or in cars,” he said. “We’re also aware there’s a need for residency options.”
The feedback they gather at this stage will guide the consultants’ design principles moving forward, Lambka said, and when they gather again for a design workshop in December or January, he said they plan to make that process open for the public to review as well.
Wilkie said any person or group interested in having their voices heard or having a say in the brainstorming process can contact her office at 864-942-8412.