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krazeeboi

How do our cities compare...

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How do you think our cities (particularly the Big 3) match up against others in the nation in terms of accomodations, meeting space, amenities, downtown revitilization efforts, national recognition, geographic advantages, etc.? Of course it would be more feasible to use UA's and MSA's as standards for comparison here.

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Greenville & Columbia are at least generally comparable to Greensboro NC, also larger or the same size as Knoxville, Mobile & similar sized as most other small to mid sized cities. But except for Charleston, I don't think any of them have national recognition. But Greensboro isn't the most nationally recognizable city either - so I suppose it's not that bad.

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How do you think our cities (particularly the Big 3) match up against others in the nation in terms of accomodations, meeting space, amenities, downtown revitilization efforts, national recognition, geographic advantages, etc.? Of course it would be more feasible to use UA's and MSA's as standards for comparison here.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You are from Rock Hill? You are just NC, Jr then.

Our 3 cities (Charlotte, Raleigh, GSO) ROCK! :rofl:

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NC, Jr....interesting....LOL.

The rest of NC would give Charlotte to SC before Charlotte would annex York County. :thumbsup:

By the way, while Rock Hill is a "satellite city" to Charlotte, it really isn't a suburb of Charlotte inasmuch as the city itself would still exist if there were no Charlotte, NC.

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Thats true, but I doubt it would be as large as it is now. It would be more comparable to Aiken or maybe Walterboro. You can't deny that alot of Rock Hill's growth is directly attributable to its proximity Charlotte :)

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Oh, no doubt about that. But the reason I (as well as a few of my peers) live in Rock Hill now isn't because of Charlotte per se; it's because I attended Winthrop, graduated, and chose to stay in the area for the time being. But then again, one of the reasons I chose Winthrop was because of its proximity to (and inclusion in) a larger metropolitan area. Oh well, back to square one....LOL.

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Thats true, but I doubt it would be as large as it is now. It would be more comparable to Aiken or maybe Walterboro. You can't deny that alot of Rock Hill's growth is directly attributable to its proximity Charlotte :)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think Rock Hill historically during the twentieth century was consistently in the largest 10 cities in SC and rather larger than Walterboro or Aiken (I cannot get my hands on those historic stats right now). Walterboro was just an agricultural marketing town and county seat and not very large. Aiken was small resort town before it literally doubled in size with the Savannah River Plant around the 1950s. Rock Hill had become a significant SC city due to the growth of the textile industry there (it had a municipal population larger than Walterboro's 2000 census urban cluster many decades ago). It was its own metropolitan area until recently. It is still a separate UA from Charlotte. While I by all means think that it is now feeding off of Charlotte's growth to a very real extent, I also think it would still be in the ten largest cities (or UAs at least) in the state currently even without Charlotte. I think the same goes for Gastonia or Kannapolis in NC. These towns were significant NC towns thanks to being textile centers in their own right before they ever became drawn into Charlotte (and they too are still separate UAs). The Carolinas' historic urban centers developed either as old port cities (Charleston, Wilmington) or state capital/university cities (Columbia, Raleigh) or industrial cities (textiles in Greenville, Spartanburg, Rock Hill, Anderson, Columbia, Charlotte, Gastonia, Greensboro, Kannapolis, etc. & tobacco in Winston-Salem, Durham & furniture in High Point, Hickory).

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In terms of SC cities compared with others:

The share of the UA that is in the central city's municipal boundaries is rather small. Most other cities seem to have done better thanks to the variance in the state annexation laws that has been pointed out on another thread by Spartan.

All three cities have good interstate connections (although Charleston is a little more isolated than Columbia or Greenville). Columbia actually has great interstate connections. How many cities its size serve as the junction of three interstate highways?

Charleston is one of the most historically significant cities of its size in the nation. It has some of the best historic resources and among the most successful heritage tourism setups as well. And then it also has Spoleto which brings cultural features than the vast majority of cities its size can only dream about.

Columbia has the advantage of being both the home of the state government and the home of the state's flagship university. This seems a rather rare combination. It seems that most states have the flagship state university in another town besides the state capital (Raleigh vs. Chapel Hill in NC, Atlanta vs. Athens in GA, and so forth). And then Richard Florida ranked Columbia in the top five among national cities of its size for their potential as future creative class centers. The city has real advantages, but it has yet to really make it all gel though it is trying with the research campus, etc.

Greenville has had almost unique success in attracting high end manufacturing in an economy that is increasingly post-industrial and service oriented. And then there is the possibility of created an auto-related cluster to rival any in comparable cities in the nation. In terms of reputation nationally, there is no question that Greenville suffers (probably unfairly to a some extent) from the Bible-Belt tag with Bob Jones University.

My guess is that if you did a poll in California, many people would not know much of anything about any of the three cities. If they knew anything, it would probably be about Charleston first. The three cities remain relatively small and lacking in statue when compared with larger southern cities. Charlotte has much more national buzz (deserved or not) than anything in SC.

That brings to me to another weak spot for SC's cities. They do not have the kind of big moneyed individuals and corporations that fund a lot of civic project and improvements. There is no Bank of America or Wachovia or Duke Power. There are a few families that made money in textiles, but nothing like the Reynolds and Gray families in Winston-Salem or the Dukes in Durham. Much of urban NC's amenities were funded by this kind of money, which seems rather lacking in SC. And that really does matter for better or for worse.

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UrbanSoutherner - thanks, you answered them far better than I was going to. That is, Rock Hill has grown larger due to Charlotte - but the town has been larger than those two smaller towns for a greater period of time. Certainly Rock Hill was only just becoming a sattellite city when I lived there in the 1970's & 1980's - most of the commerce was still oriented around the textile mills. That is the main reason for Rock Hill, Gastonia, Spartanburg, Concord, & even Greenville's size - textile mills (not primarily I-85).

But Rock Hill wouldn't be a town with a population over 50,000 without Charlotte, it would still be around 30,000 as Florence & Anderson is.

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The city that I think is comparable to Columbia is Lexington, KY. Both are home to major state universities (USC & UK). Both also have many churches and park facilities. The leading industy for both is: Education, health, & social services (Columbia 27.6% / Lexington 25%).

Columbia's 2000 population: 166,278 with land area of 125.2 sq miles

2003 MSA: 558,632

Lexington's 2000 population: 260,512 with land area of 284.5 sq miles

2003 MSA: 497,061

Convention Center size:

Columbia - 142,000 sf

Lexington ~123,000 sf

I don't have enough info to compare downtown development plans, but if someone does, I think it would be an interesting comparison.

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Thanks Tashadoh. Of course, I do think it helps to be near a larger thriving city now that the textile industry seems to be dying a rather painful death. These communities are having to transition. But still the reason that these cities exist to take advantage of new things in the first place was the textile industry in the past. And I forgot to mention that Rock Hill does have Winthrop University, one the state's largest and oldest public universities after you get rid of USC and Clemson. And a question for anyone with an answer - why has Rock Hill been so good at annexing areas while Anderson, Florence, and Spartanburg have not been? Spartanburg's UA is twice the size of Rock Hill's UA, but Rock Hill has a larger municipal population. The same goes for Sumter's successful annexation efforts. As restrictive as SC's annexation laws are, there are examples of cities getting it done - Charleston, North Charleston, Rock Hill, and Sumter. How did they do it? And then you have the suburbs that have been quite successful annexing like Mount Pleasant, Forest Acres, Lexington, and Summerville.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

The two primary reasons some cities have been successful in annexing outlying areas and others have not would be 1) political leadership that has emphasized annexation and 2) effective use of water & sewer service to require annexation.

I remember in the '80s and '90's Rock Hill was very aggressive with holding annexation elections. Most annexations are by petition and require 75% agreement, but an election requires only 50% plus one. However elections are often unsuccessful and are expensive. I remember once Rock Hill had annexation elections in like 5 areas simulanteously. I think only one or two passed, but evidently some of those other areas were eventually annexed as well. Rock Hill's mayor at the time, Betty Jo Rhea was a big proponent of those efforts.

Sumter's success has been primarily through annexation of the Shaw AFB. Also, the property tax reductions that came with implementing the Local Option Sales Tax has made annexation easier as well. The L.O.S.T. also helped North Charleston and Charleston annex areas such as West Ashley, James Island, etc. that were in Public Service Districts. These PSD's do not share in LOST revenues. By all but eliminating the difference in tax rates, those cities have been able to annex developed areas that had resisted annexation for decades.

Mount Pleasant I believe will only extend it's water and sewer lines to annexed areas in most cases. Other cities will serve unincorporated areas and just charge higher fees.

Spartanburg's city limits are surrounded by the service areas of PSD's. Therefore Spartanburg can't incite annexation by providing water and sewer. Sburg's limits have probably expanded the least of any major SC city over the last 50 years. That is not likely to change either.

Greenville has limited it's annexations to almost exclusively commercial areas. It is too political difficult to annex the residential areas.

In the 60's and 70's the largest cities were spread around the state. Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, Spartanburg in that order, in the 2010 census the biggest cities will likely be Charleston, Columbia, North Charleston, Mount Pleasant. Three of the four from just one county.

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The city that I think is comparable to Columbia is Lexington, KY. Both are home to major state universities (USC & UK). Both also have many churches and park facilities. The leading industy for both is: Education, health, & social services (Columbia 27.6% / Lexington 25%).

Columbia's 2000 population: 166,278 with land area of 125.2 sq miles

2003 MSA: 558,632

Lexington's 2000 population: 260,512 with land area of 284.5 sq miles

2003 MSA: 497,061

Convention Center size:

Columbia - 142,000 sf

Lexington ~123,000 sf

I don't have enough info to compare downtown development plans, but if someone does, I think it would be an interesting comparison.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Where did you get this Columbia 2000 population. I looked and saw it was 117,000 in 2000 not 166,000.

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And vicupstate answered that question, better again, before I could answer ;)

But correct - Rock Hill has been highly aggresive concerning annexation - the city did attempt to annex a large amount during the 1980's, which would have filled in some 'islands' & annexed several thousand along Celenase Rd - but failed. But essentially, it is the difference between a city waiting to be asked to annexed, & the more pro-active position, which is to aggresively proposition land owners & developers to be annexed. What is in Rock Hill's favor, is that much of the land the city has annexed has been a number of large parcels, which were then subdivided by developers. But for cities such as Spartanburg, which is surrounded by a higher level of developed land - & often individual communities, the city has to gain permission from a far larger number of inhabitants.

So - there is nothing much outside of Rock Hill's city limits - so the city can continue to make +100 acre annexations on a regular basis (even +1000 acre annexations). Whereas Spartanburg could only succeed in piece meal 25 acre annexations. Which means unfortunately - unless Spartanburg is able to annex one of the few remaining large parcels adjoining the city - the city limits is stuck. Rock Hill on the other hand, as long as they are pro-active, can continue to outpace York County tax coffers by offering developers tax breaks, water / sewer hookups, & allow a more pro-developer land plan (as opposed to the county's typical lower density requirements).

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Where did you get this Columbia 2000 population.  I looked and saw it was 117,000 in 2000 not 166,000.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

My bad. The census had it at 116,278, just typed it in wrong.

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Spartanburg doesn't have any other municipalities nearby. It is a unique situation in that regard. The one exception being Roebuck. It is the only municipality that can "threaten" Spartanburg.

Like vic said, it is the PSD's that prevent annexation. However, annexation does occur, but if you look at a map of the city, you can tell it is largely east, west and south of the city. It just occurs very slowly.

You may be interested to know that there is a push to annex areas to the south and west of the city BEFORE they get developed, and before Roebuck gets ahold of them.

annex.jpg

Tan- City limits

Orange/Purple - areas recently annexed (this is an old map)

Blue- area targeted for annexation (not all at once)

Brown- area targeted for annexation

Green- area targeted for annexation

Red- area targeted for annexation

I am not sure why there are so many colors. I suspect it has to do with the different ways necessary to annex the separate areas. The point here is that Spartanburg does have some desire to increase its territory.

We do have a few annexations each year, but they are very small. If the city wanted to annex more, it could do it.

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It is incredible that Spartanburg's original circular corporate boundary (a 2 mile radius?) is still highly visible. But essentially - that makes sense Spartanburg does wish to annex to the south & east, whereas the established communities to the west & north would block any attempts.

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UrbanSoutherner - thanks, you answered them far better than I was going to.  That is, Rock Hill has grown larger due to Charlotte - but the town has been larger than those two smaller towns for a greater period of time.  Certainly Rock Hill was only just becoming a sattellite city when I lived there in the 1970's & 1980's - most of the commerce was still oriented around the textile mills.  That is the main reason for Rock Hill, Gastonia, Spartanburg, Concord, & even Greenville's size - textile mills (not primarily I-85).

But Rock Hill wouldn't be a town with a population over 50,000 without Charlotte, it would still be around 30,000 as Florence & Anderson is.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Just for the record, When I last checked Anderson's Urban Area population was larger that Rock Hill's.

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True - just very slightly. Rock Hill's actually declined from 1990 because they took Fort Mill away (& gave it to the NC barbarian horde ;)).

Your record has been entered, thank you :)

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I'm not very knowledgeable in this field, but I wish to make a comment. If Greenville could annex its Urban Area. The population then, in my belief would more accurately reflect the true size of the city. I've seen cities twice Greenville's population with less density and less infrastructure. It just doens't make sense.

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I'm not very knowledgeable in this field, but I wish to make a comment. If Greenville could annex its Urban Area. The population then, in my belief would more accurately reflect the true size of the city. I've seen cities twice Greenville's population with less density and less infrastructure. It just doens't make sense.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree totally. It would make Greenville a city of 300,000+ like it really is. Greenville has the dumbest city limits I have ever seen. When I lived in Greenwood the city limits reached almost to the rural areas. Did you know that 90ish percent of Woodruff Rd. is not in the city? Yet there is traffic jams over there every day.

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Here is a map of the Woodruff Rd area. This is based on 2000 data, so there could be some updates. I read that ICAR and Greenridge were annexed in....

Greenvile_woodruffrd.jpg

Green = Greenville

Light Green = recently annexed

Orange = Mauldin

Grey = urban area

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Spartan where do you get all of this info? This map proves what I was saying about Woodruff Rd(the 90 percent thing). Mauldin and Greenville basically touch on some parts of this map. Didn't realize how close they were.

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