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About Historyguy

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    History, historic preservation, pedestrian and transit issues, higher education, economic development.

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  1. Historyguy

    Cambria Hotel (Old HBJ Lot)

    The Herald Journal finally reports on the story... https://www.goupstate.com/news/20181101/developer-plans-major-downtown-hotel-project
  2. Historyguy

    Spartanburg Off-Topic

    Yep - she was between Roy Lane, who died in office, and Mark Scott, who came from Hollywood...
  3. Historyguy

    Spartanburg Off-Topic

    You mean before she came to Spartanburg? I do recall she (Bonnie Kraft) and Linda Dogan had some altercations!
  4. Historyguy

    Spartanburg Off-Topic

    There may indeed have been merit in going through a longer process, however, a full national search might have cost $25-50,000. And then a manager coming from elsewhere (who might have not even stayed long) would have found him or herself spending a year learning all of the players, learning the council members, learning the community's history, figuring out all the development agreements that are underway. While I will concede that things like that happen in other places with council-manager systems, it could have put a year's lag into our community momentum. I also take some issue with the notion that some outside person can come in and sprinkle fairy dust over our community's very real problems and somehow make everything better. Senior staff and council members have the ability - and I'd even say the obligation - to look at what other places are doing. That's why many of them go to the state municipal association conference, to the National League of Cities, and other conferences to see how other places handle issues. Spartanburg did bring in managers from the west coast in the early 2000s - one from Oregon, I think, and one from southern California. The first left really fast. The second stayed for 5 years or so, and I never met him, I don't really know much about him. An old friend of mine indicated to me that Greenville's search wasn't turning out to be that fruitful. Finding the right fit for your city manager is not easy, so I'm glad we had someone that council believed fit the bill.
  5. Historyguy

    Spartanburg Off-Topic

    And, City Council effectively named Chris Story as its next city manager tonight, pending the negotiation of his contract. The vote was unanimous but came after a fairly long executive session that appeared to break down between those who wanted to go ahead and appoint Chris and those that wanted to do a search. Even the members who were interested in a search were not opposed to appointing Chris, some just wanted to see how he might stack up against someone else. I'm glad they went ahead and made their choice. The pool of potential city managers out there isn't really all that deep, and I daresay there's nobody who understands the complexities and challenges in the community better than he does.
  6. Historyguy

    Renaissance Park Projects & Developments

    To the point about ground floor activation, that did come up in the presentation. The developer did address the idea of retail but he wasn't really that enthused about bringing retail to that spot, and said they didn't really have the space for it, and more importantly, the parking. If they added a restaurant, they would have to add a whole lot more parking, and he seemed like he wasn't all that interested in a coffee shop or other similar place. FWIW, I like the design, but I never claimed to have good taste. I am going to attempt to embed the link from the video on the City's Facebook page so you can watch the entire DRB meeting if you are interested. If that doesn't work, I'll try something else.
  7. Historyguy

    Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport

    I think that's basically right - the six airport commissioners are divided - 3 from Greenville County, 3 from Spartanburg County, each group officially appointed by the governor, but actually by the Greenville or Spartanburg legislative delegations. Milliken himself served on that commission from the day it was created until the day he died. I think Charlie Daniel was the Greenville counterpart. I've seen the picture of the two of them sitting on top of the earth mover at the groundbreaking. The county line runs through the property - the runway is in both counties, the terminal is (I'm pretty sure) in Spartanburg County. I think we're pretty lucky that we got as much of a part of it in 1962 as we did - rather than it being a solely Greenville enterprise. It's interesting how often airlines refer to it as Greenville, and how often they call it Greenville-Spartanburg. I was flying home yesterday and the Delta pilot called it "Spartanburg" one or two times, which I rather enjoyed.
  8. Historyguy

    Greater Spartanburg Projects & Developments

    Not going to re-litigate that election, but I think this comment says a lot. The way a candidate conducts a campaign says a whole lot about how they'd actually lead once in office, and also, a candidate is ultimately responsible for what they put out in a campaign, and I don't think Todd helped himself with how he ran. I think that assessment of Junie is also harsh and unfair. He has deep relationships in all parts of the community, and that stuff matters when election time comes around. He's always treated everyone right, no matter their race or economic background. He's got a lot of savvy in him and can generally read a situation very well. And he and his council colleagues put the city administration in place and oversee their work, so I would not call him an obstacle to all the progress going on. I think he does a lot more than sit around the gas station - though I know a lot of folks know that's where they can find him, which isn't such a bad thing. I would never say he's perfect, but he's got the best interest of the city in what he does.
  9. Historyguy

    Spartanburg Off-Topic

    I think Chris has been in training to be the next City Manager since he came from the county to work for the City some 7 or more years ago. I think Council is familiar with him and comfortable with him, and I'd even say they like him. I certainly can't comment on or dispute other peoples' experiences with him in development type meetings. But he currently oversees the development services departments in city government - planning, economic development, etc. He already has a hand in everything that's going on and has been going on for the past decade. I've worked with him in a variety of capacities over the years and I think he has a strong understanding of a very complex organization, and of the broader community, its challenges, opportunities, etc. I've had enough conversations with him about big-picture issues that I know he has vision, but he remembers the little stuff, too. I think it's important to remember that the #2 in any organization does not have the freedom of action that the chief executive has. The #2 has to figure out his role, how to complement the #1, how to fill in where the #1 might need more help. If you are the #2, you don't get to set the agenda, you don't really get to have an agenda. You are often following someone else's lead or working under the parameters they set for you.
  10. Historyguy

    Greater Spartanburg Projects & Developments

    I don't quite know where to put this - so we'll just call it a Greater Spartanburg development - City Manager Ed Memmott announces his retirement - certainly a big story for us local government wonks. http://www.goupstate.com/news/20180725/spice-amp-tea-exchange-opens-thursday-in-downtown-spartanburg
  11. Historyguy

    Renaissance Park Projects & Developments

    I think the larger downtown core needs a mix of housing, and while I'm always an advocate of greater density, having some single family houses available this close to downtown is a positive, I think. We really lack modern single family housing throughout the city, but especially in the core. If you aren't into older homes (Hampton Heights, Converse Heights, South Converse) then you are pretty much out of luck if you want to buy a house that's really close to downtown. I suspect there's going to be some questions about the price tag, however. Since the land is free, the comment about the land value driving the home price might not hold up quite as well. I'll be interested to see how much "workforce housing" is ultimately available - especially with only 24 lots. Will be interesting to see if something like this might happen on the old TK Gregg property nearby. This could be a pilot for some other projects.
  12. Historyguy

    Greenways in Sparkle City

    My understanding is that it will be 10 feet wide and hard surface. And yeah, urban trails are expensive!
  13. Historyguy

    Boiling Springs Developments

    Here's the incorporation statute... https://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t05c001.php
  14. Historyguy

    Boiling Springs Developments

    I need to go back and read up on incorporation and annexation law - I don't know how far you have to be from the nearest municipality in SC to be able to start an incorporation petition. I threw that comment in there because years ago I heard that line that Boiling Springs folks thought Spartanburg wanted to annex them. I'm pretty sure that's not true, however! I don't know if the City has a specific policy on annexation north of 85 - but from what the city manager told Council last week, they are proceeding on annexation in a few places slowly but surely, where it makes financial sense. He said he expected to bring a number of commercial annexations over the next few months - mostly in areas that were subject to annexation under the water agreement. I think Drayton is going to be one of those. But they really aren't looking to bring in single-family neighborhoods (apartment complexes are more commercial under this interpretation) because it just isn't cost effective: the service costs more than the tax revenue that single family hones generate. I am wandering off the Boiling Springs topic, so I'll stop there. I do think some community visioning for the Boiling Springs area is definitely in order. And I certainly agree that it's going to get worse in that area and they don't have any really good solutions.
  15. Historyguy

    Boiling Springs Developments

    Today's Herald-Journal has some more on this topic: http://www.goupstate.com/news/20180428/incorporation-low-income-housing-battle-lines-drawn-in-boiling-springs Definitely a lot of contentious issues going on here - incorporation, zoning, development, traffic, future land use... and taxes. I wonder how much of this is about taxes and how much is about regulations. You can't realistically put any limits on growth and development without some type of regulatory framework. And unless the County is going to step in, incorporation is probably the only answer. But I suspect the people who might want to control or limit growth and development probably also don't want incorporation. I'm just glad nobody is throwing darts at the City of Spartanburg and raising some red herring about annexation - because that is so far out of the realm of possibility as to be laughable. I don't think anybody in the City wants to buy those problems.