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Everything posted by Spartan

  1. Spartan

    Five Points

    Bars should be a part of it too though. A good place to buy cheap beer is important.
  2. Gotta say that the density is nice to see. The street level is a bit lacking though. That section of Devine Street has so much potential.
  3. Spartan

    Five Points

    I read the article about the Five Points reinvestment strategy. The City's policies and fees etc. may indeed be a barrier, but Five Points has succeeded for many decades in spite of that. I think the problem is that the reputation and success of this place has been as USC's bar district. The old people finally got what they wanted and the bars are gone (or in the process of getting kicked out) and now they complain it doesn't feel right. IMO a downtown or "college town" vibe is exactly what this place should be and to strive for something different, especially without defining what that direction is, will probably be disappointing.
  4. Totally forgot about St John. Does the city own the one on Kennedy? I always thought it was part of the Denny's building, but it was never an assumption based on facts.
  5. Why would the 'district' need to own a parking deck? The city already owns two decks. Why not one more?
  6. Larger numbers of citizens also means more state dollars. Spartanburg has a complicated arrangement with the water system and sewer system that is tied to their statuses as MSD's outside of the city limits. The city's sewer system is its only means of annexation tied to services in the way you describe. The city's sewer system is managed by Spartanburg Water, which itself is managed by multiple MSD boards and City Council because their coverage area extends beyond the city limits. There are annexation agreements have have been signed in the past that commit parcels to annexation, but past leadership was pretty bad up until about 20-25 years ago. The City tried to call in those annexation agreements in Hillbrook and some neighborhoods on the west side a few years ago with only moderate success - mostly due to the age and vagueness of those older agreements. You can read about on another thread about it somewhere on here. Anyway, the result of that situation is that city has, however, started requiring new annexation agreements for properties within 1 mile (I think) of city limits when they request sewer service. They still have to be opportunistic about how and where to annex because it costs money to provide services to new parcels. Greenville's model has been to grow from within, and I think that is what Spartanburg is doing. In the past, Spartanburg tended to focus on big fish projects that never panned out (ie: the pedestrian mall, the "Opportunity Block," etc.) and IMO historically didn't do a good job of focusing on ways to serve its residents better. Today they're focusing a ton of public sector and private sector energy into cleaning up the Northside and addressing problems in a meaningful way. They've invested in small, incremental projects to improve downtown, supported reinvestment in historic buildings, working with PAL to develop cycling and recreation infrastructure, etc. IMO Spartanburg is doing a lot of things really well, and there's a lot more to how local government should function than the raw population count. By taking this approach, the City is making strategic investments in making Spartanburg a better place for Spartans. Its these kinds of improvements that will net positive changes over time, and it will eventually draw more people to live within the city. Building a city is just a painfully slow process and change is tough to see when you're living through it. But take it from someone who hasn't actually lived in Spartanburg in almost 20 years, it's a wonderful experience to come home and see all the changes and progress in this city. Good things are in its future, and I think the population count will eventually reflect it in the same way that Greenville's has reflected theirs.
  7. Objectively a suburb being the largest municipality doesn't mean anything other than it happens to have the most people. Annexation laws being what they are, it speaks more to how the SC government has designed local government to function (or not). It would just be a weird scenario to have, and for the record I think Mt Pleasant is the most likely contender. In terms of what you can do... probably not much as an individual except for making life choices that are consistent with and that support your views on urban places. That said, y'all know I have railed on MSD's for many years. MSD's are, IMO, one of the biggest problems in South Carolina in terms of local government structure - even more than the annexation laws. These organizations function as de facto fifedoms with little to no oversight or accountability. They are run by boards that pay themselves exorbitant salaries and benefits while providing the minimum amount of service they can get away with. Some of them do a good job, but there is no way to measure the efficacy of the majority of them. They are ostensibly public agencies and are supposed to publish their budgets and proceedings and file reports to some oversight committee in the Senate every year, and they have elected boards. I have researched this in the past and the actual data availability is erratic and inconsistent. So to sort this out I have a project in mind to set up a website to highlight MSD's in South Carolina, how they function, what they're for, and how they impact urban services in the state. The problem is that it's going to require a lot of legwork, probably tons of FOIA requests, and probably calling politicians and newspapers to get the data needed to develop my database where it needs to be to do any real analysis. Suffice it to say I have not had the time to deal with this, and not being a resident of SC adds a layer too.
  8. I-77 is getting managed lanes (toll lanes) in the next decade or so. It's unclear if the lanes will extend in to SC, but my. assumption is that they will until I see something that says otherwise.
  9. Greenville and Spartanburg are particularly unique in that they are limited in their ability to annex into the urban area around them - not just due to annexation laws, but because they are almost entirely surrounded by developed areas served by MSDs. There isn't a lot of vacant/undeveloped land to annex into, which is what you see in places like Rock Hill, Greer, and all of the Charleston cities. A few thoughts: Spartanburg has been doing A LOT of work on itself over the past 10 years, so and it's just a matter of time before that gets reflected in its population count. Greenville's population gain over the past 10 years is a testament to good planning and investment in the city's core to create more desirable places to live for the people who live there. When you focus on that, the tourists will come to see what all the fuss is about. I think Columbia losing that much ground to Charleston over the past year is particularly interesting because they had been fairly close for most of the past 10-15 years (although Charleston had been gaining). One thing to keep in mind is that the ACS numbers are just estimates. The 2020 Census numbers are based on a 100% count, so they will be more telling and may change some of the stats (up or down). To be honest, I'm concerned that in the next 10 years, Mt Pleasant or North Charleston will surpass Columbia and Charleston to become the largest municipality in the state. I don't know if any other states have this issue, but IMO it would be incredibly embarrassing.
  10. That's actually really cool. Is that in the city limits?
  11. It's the City Manager's job. But they only have 2 city planners on staff, so maybe that's part of it too? I really thought that the city was trying to expand its population through proactive annexation, but maybe that policy no longer applies. The city is, however, making a much more sincere effort to grow from within (ie: Northside) and working to address the problems under its control. I think the city is going about it the right way even if the results are slow to come. Focusing on downtown will lead to more prosperity in the long run in terms of both population and economic growth. The thing that sucks isn't being the 12th largest city, it's that half of the cities in the top 10 are just in the Charleston metro, and half of them are suburbs.
  12. Wow, that's huge!! Maybe not the forward thinking type of context sensitive design approach, but that's something you can work with. Hopefully with all of the new funding they've received from the gas tax we will be able to see some of this hit the ground fairly soon (2-3 years).
  13. Why haven't the others been brought in?
  14. When did City Council approve the annexation? That's the only info that matters. As long as it was on or before 4/1 the Drayton should get counted.
  15. Ped malls can work, but you have to have the pedestrians first. Spartanburg tried (and failed) at it because it was a gimmick to compete with the suburbs. Once you reach a critical mass of people (eg: more people than cars), you can shift more and more space to pedestrians and it makes the experience better for people. That said, we're still a long way from anything like that.
  16. Wow that's phenomenal. I hope they are successful in getting the BUILD grant! I will send my support letter soon!
  17. Nice. The photos really show the topo that's out there. It's easy to forget when you're looking at a map.
  18. Lack of retail doesn't bother me. It appears to have an active ground floor design, which is the most important part and hopefully there's an office or gym or something down there to contribute to the life on the street. Generally speaking, most of Spartanburg's true retail is going to be be concentrated around the Morgan Square core + 1-2 blocks around it for the forseeable future. Unless we get a wave of dense residential apartments in and around downtown its going to be hard to sustain additional retail.
  19. I would really like them to replace the back of curb sidewalk. That's something the City needs to address in terms of development code. Otherwise this looks like a pretty good design.
  20. Nice, thanks for the photo updates!
  21. The lack of connectivity and generally extension of the streets on the north side to the south is very dissapointing.
  22. I think this is really cool. They're going to close off Main Street along Morgan Square to vehicular traffic to allow restaurants more space to serve patrons outside. It would be great to see this happen more often. I someday dream of the entirety of the Square being closed off to vehicles because there are so many pedestrian it makes more sense to give all of the space to them.
  23. Agreed. Minor aesthetic complaints aside, this will be a great addition to the city. I agree the top columns are weird. I'm betting it was a value engineering process or the internal architectural requirements forced the adjsutment.
  24. I'd say economic drivers are the main reason. I-85 is the main reason for the Upstate's existence, and Charleston has the coast/culture and port thing going for it. Weather and topography aren't really major factors in where most people end up living. If it were, then nobody would voluntarily live in east Texas. I think Rich/Lex is in a bit of a longer term lull right now. It's still growing though. Would be interested to compare growth trends over time. Maybe its growing steadily and the others are just picking up steam? Charleston passing Columbia as the states largest city is probably anecdotal evidence of this (annexation laws aside).
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