btoy

New 160 Acre West End Park

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The golf course and the skatepark are both slated to be included in the Kroc Community Center complex. This park is "merely" an extension of the continuous public space along the Reedy River through downtown. I LOVE the idea of a whitewater course, and definitely think there should be awsome art and sculpture displays scattered around the area. I'll include more later. :thumbsup:

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I would like to see a whitewater course as well. I haven't been in a canoe or kayak in about 25 years, but from what I understand, there is quite a following in the area. Perhaps an outfit in the area could offer classes or workshops in the park. I might even be inclined to get back into it if that were the case.

RT, is there a web site dedicated to whitewater in the upstate?

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...

RT, is there a web site dedicated to whitewater in the upstate?

The Upstate and nearby mountainous region is loaded with plenty of opportunity for the paddle enthusiast. I have a small collection of sites and/or addresses, but there are more, I'm sure. I'll not link to any other forums with threads relating area paddlesports, but these will give you a start.

Perception Kayaks - a World class maker of premium and cutting-edge kayaks and canoes. Located in Easley, SC

Perception Kayak Club

c/o Perception Inc. 111 Kayaker Way Easley, SC 29640

Foothills Paddling Club

P.O. Box 6331 Greenville, SC 29606

Clemson Whitewater Club

251 Fike Recreation Center Box 344015 Clemson, SC 29634-4015

Greenville.com Whitewater Info - outdated, but includes good brief info on the Chattooga River in Oconee County.

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The Upstate and nearby mountainous region is loaded with plenty of opportunity for the paddle enthusiast. I have a small collection of sites and/or addresses, but there are more, I'm sure. I'll not link to any other forums with threads relating area paddlesports, but these will give you a start.

Perception Kayaks - a World class maker of premium and cutting-edge kayaks and canoes. Located in Easley, SC

Perception Kayak Club

c/o Perception Inc. 111 Kayaker Way Easley, SC 29640

Foothills Paddling Club

P.O. Box 6331 Greenville, SC 29606

Clemson Whitewater Club

251 Fike Recreation Center Box 344015 Clemson, SC 29634-4015

Greenville.com Whitewater Info - outdated, but includes good brief info on the Chattooga River in Oconee County.

Thanks RT! :D

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Would love to see the white water course installed or a nature center with a lake and wetlands to explore with rental canoes and kayaks. I have been wondering how the city plans to deal with the flooding and remembered reading some were that the river was going to be returned to its natural wandering river bed with wetlands to help control the flooding. So I was assuming that this park is going to be more of a natural park than a play park like Cleveland park?

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On the bottom of the front page of today's Sunday Greenville News, there was an excellent article about the eminent domain fight and access to the Reedy River Parkway from both Falls Park and South Main Street. I fear the importance of this access was overlooked by the jurors and that they sided with the previous property owners due to the tight integration between this parkway and RiverPlace.

Here's a LINK TO THE ARTICLE.

The article also explains what happened to the water feature that was supposed to have been cascading down along the stair case from South Main Street.

Additionally, the article gives some new details on the centerpiece fountain at RiverPlace that are interesting:

"Hughes said the huge fountain, now under construction near the hotel at RiverPlace, will be 150 feet wide and 27 feet high and shoot water six feet from the top. It will include water effects that coordinate with train sounds and music, a homage to the railroad tracks that once ran along the river, he said.

State officials are classifying the fountain as a swimming pool because it's so large, Hughes said, requiring public bathrooms and water testing."

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I am glad this issue is settled, but I think there is a lot of downsided to this issue that most people overlook.

First and foremost, the out of control jury award will encourage more of the same. If that happens we will all pay higher taxes to support new or expanded highways, parks, schools, etc.

For certain, this will delay, probably by several years, the extention of the Reedy River Falls park into West Greenville. That is a price everyone will pay. That much longer before we can enjoy it. That much longer before it can be used as a drawing card for business and industry considering the area.

I sympathize with that Mr. Mitchell lost something that was important and special to him. But he is a loon, if he thinks that emenient domain should never be used. It has been around for centuries and without it, we would have to drive to Simpsonville to get to Spartanburg from Greenville.

Emenient domain should be used as a last resort and sparingly, but let's not kid ourselves, the city didn't just need to remove these buildings to achieve access, these buildings were eyesores, and also unsafe.

I hope these folks that let there buildings become public eyesores and uninhabitable have fun spending all there taxpayer funds.

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First and foremost, the out of control jury award will encourage more of the same. If that happens we will all pay higher taxes to support new or expanded highways, parks, schools, etc.

This doesn't look like $6.15M to me, either:

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90509491_79f5844509.jpg

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Specifically in the Cassaday case, which was the largest award, we aren't talking about taking someone cow pasture to widen a highway. The city took his waterfront home and a source of income. The future value of which cannot be determined, but I would guess 'on Main St' and 'on the river' would have made it pretty desirable. There were no structural issues with his building either.

Attractiveness is debatable. There are several buildings along Main St that are similar in appearance. Not many people are calling for their destruction based on appearance alone.

I agree that the other buildings should never have gotten to the level of disrepair that they did, but safety issues could have been resolved. The buildings all had possible futures in a vibrant and growing downtown. As I have said before, a coat of paint can do wonders (along with a structural engineer).

I think the path to the park will have immeasurable benefit for the community. It is a beautiful addition to the landscape downtown, and creates easy access to the public area along the river. And as far as I am concerned, it is money well spent.

I think that eminant domain was going to have to be used to get this property for the city, because the owners would not have sold, no matter the price. I believe it was the correct choice for the city. However, they made mistakes along the way in their dealings with the RiverPlace developers.

Two separate juries came to the same conclusion. Something wasn't right, and they corrected it. I don't think this will have any lasting effect on future eminant domain cases because there will never be other properties in the city of Greenville with those same attributes. And besides, every jury is different.

IMHO.

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Could not agree with you more VICUPSTATE. Still not clear how the jury justified an awarded so much more that the appraisal value? One of the land owners said it was not about the money, if that is true then the land owners should give their millions to charity, right?

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This whole case irritates me. They got WAY more than they deserved in my book and I've lost a lot of respect for them as people, especially Mitchell. Thank God Knox is still mayor!

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Two separate juries came to the same conclusion. Something wasn't right, and they corrected it. I don't think this will have any lasting effect on future eminant domain cases because there will never be other properties in the city of Greenville with those same attributes. And besides, every jury is different.

IMHO.

Only one jury. The previous "jury' was a judge who found the case WAS a valid emenient domain taking. The jury was only to determine the VALUE of the property. Future income is NOT a valid consideration. Only replacement value. Besides how was Cassaday earning money on his property? He lived there. The jury awarded more than the already inflated value placed by the three owners. They let emotion take over, how can that not be excessive.

Riverplace torn down their buildings themselves. They didn't maintain them because they had no intention of keeping them.

The statement about this never happening again doesn't hold water. This same situation could happen with expansion of the Palmetto Expo Center for instance. Future juries drawn from the area will likely remember this case as well.

Every dime these three received over what the property was worth, is money taken from taxpayers. TIF funds primarily come from when property is IMPROVED. These three didn't make significant improvements to their properties.

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I was under the impression that the jury in the Cassaday case was from a different pool than the jury for Mitchell and Surratt case. I was also under the impression that above Cassaday's living space was leased office space on Main St and a rentable apartment.

Story

As to your other points, we will just have to disagree.

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Apparently the city did not do a very good job of presenting its case, as on the surface, it looks like the properties were taken to enhance the Riverplace development. Didn't Riverplace unsuccessfully try to buy these properties to incorporate into the development? It just looks bad that when they were unsuccessful, that the city decided then to use eminent domain. (I am not saying this is what happened, but it sure looks that way.)

Valuation of these properties would be extremely difficult. They just happened to be in the perfect spot. On Main St and on the Reedy River. Not many other properties can claim this distinction. These facts make the property more valuable than other things up and down Main or anywhere else along the Redy. The only truly fair way to value them would be to have an auction and let them go to the highest bidder. But that would have been impossible in this case.

I think the jurors wanted to send a message, regardless of whether they should or not, that taking property should be difficult, and not for the benefit of private development.

That being said, I think in the long run, it is better for the city of Greenville to own these properties than to have left them as they were.

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What is crazy is how the jury came up with the price. They just had each member pick what they thought it was worth and then averaged them all together.

Also I beleive they are paying with Hospitallity Tax funds not TIF funds.

Correct me if I am wrong but TIF funds are Property Taxes that al stay to be used again with in the idetified TIF district and are taxes on businesses and residencies. Hospitality tax is a additional 2 cent sales taxes on the sales of food and drink with in the CBD also to be used only with in that district. Isn't that about right?

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This is from today Gville News article:

The city had set aside approximately $1 million combined for the verdicts and had $600,00 available for land acquisition along the river, White said.

For the rest of the money, the city is taking about $2.7 million from hospitality tax revenues and around $1.8 million from a special downtown property district. Revenues in that district must be used for downtown improvements, not services, White said.

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Correct me if I am wrong but TIF funds are Property Taxes that al stay to be used again with in the idetified TIF district and are taxes on businesses and residencies. Hospitality tax is a additional 2 cent sales taxes on the sales of food and drink with in the CBD also to be used only with in that district. Isn't that about right?

Yes. Pretty much. Either all of the revenue from taxes can be used for improvements to the identified TIF area or a specified percentage. That's how I understand it. The hospitality taxes are on food, drink, and also (in many cases) hotel rooms.

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I have never agreed with the way the city went about doing this. Regardless of how many people would benefit from those properties being seized by the city, the fact is that these individuals owned the property. They are under no obligation to sell. Now ideally, they could be persuaded of the good that would come of them selling their land to the city in order to create a park that everyone could enjoy. I do not know the specifics, but I would think that the city could have raised the offering price enough to persuade the owners to sell. If not, then too bad. The landowner has the right to do as they see fit with THEIR property, provided that their actions are not illegal or harming others. By all accounts, these properties were not sites of illegal business activity, pollution, etc. Thus, what right does the city have to blaze in and take that property?

I was glad when the city was able to get rid of those ugly buildings, but I did not agree with it. The precedent that was established by the city's move was that an individual's property was theirs as long as the government didn't think that there was a better or more appropriate use of it. How would any of us like it if the government made us leave our residences, regardless of how much we liked our house, the memories there, etc., because they wanted to do something else with it? Who is the government to decide how your property should be used? It is YOUR property that you paid for.

It is ridiculous that the landowners were awarded so much in the settlement, when clearly the land was not worth that much. However, it is a message to the government that they cannot simply bully their way in and take over people's private property. To make matters worse, this was done over a park, which to most people is a nice area that looks pretty but is far from essential. It makes the city look insensitive and selfish, and perhaps that is partly true.

Hopefully, in the future, the city can accomplish what it wants to with the cooperation of private land owners (who are willing to sell when they see that a project is sensible and has the potential to benefit many).

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What is crazy is how the jury came up with the price. They just had each member pick what they thought it was worth and then averaged them all together.

Also I beleive they are paying with Hospitallity Tax funds not TIF funds.

Correct me if I am wrong but TIF funds are Property Taxes that al stay to be used again with in the idetified TIF district and are taxes on businesses and residencies. Hospitality tax is a additional 2 cent sales taxes on the sales of food and drink with in the CBD also to be used only with in that district. Isn't that about right?

You are correct on TIF's. TIF is NOT an additional tax however, it is the increase in taxes (due to renovations, additions, increased value, etc.)received from the date the TIF went into effect. Those are diverted from the general fund to pay off the bonds use to pay for the capital improvements. Hospitality taxes are levied city-wide and can be spent city-wide. I believe the city is useing BOTH to pay the off the landowners and their legal fees.

I think every emenient domain case will now go to jury rather than settling the value without a jury. This will increase legal expenses and most likely, the awards.

The ironic thing is that if the city hadn't invested tens of millions of dollars into the West End, these properties would still be in the 'slum' that the West End use to be. The city increased their property values and then were forced to pay even higher values to further improve the area.

The city did make mistakes. They should have acquired the land before agreeing to fund it's part of the Riverplace project. They definitely should not have agreed to move up the valuation date from 2002 to 2004. Lastly, they shouldn't have gone to a jury trial, and just paid the amount demanded by the owners just prior to that. Of course, hindsight is 20/20.

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I don't agree with the money amount either. I also think they should have gotten less money, but that's life. The settlement is over, so get over it.

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