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Unity Park (New 160 Acre West End Park)


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City Council is considering replacement of the Willard Street Bridge over the Reedy River just west of Unity Park (beyond the railroad tracks). The City is currently installing curbs and sidewalks along Willard to connect the adjacent neighborhoods with Unity Park. One option that they will consider is routing the Swamp Rail Trail crossing underneath the new bridge. It was discussed in the City Council work session on March 14.

Edited by GvilleSC
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14 minutes ago, GvilleSC said:

City Council is considering replacement of the Willard Street Bridge over the Reedy River just west of Unity Park (beyond the railroad tracks). The City is currently installing curbs and sidewalks along Willard to connect the adjacent neighborhoods with Unity Park. One option that they will consider is routing the Swamp Rail Trail crossing underneath the new bridge. It was discussed in the City Council work session on March 14.

I drive over that bridge semi regularly and it is in very poor condition, so great!

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On 1/30/2022 at 3:56 PM, apaladin said:

I would go with wood since it will be no higher than a tree house. :rofl:

What if they relocated one of the old mill water towers and converted it into an observation deck - are they higher than the Unity Park  proposed tower?  For example   https://nextpittsburgh.com/environment/north-parks-iconic-water-tower-finds-new-purpose-as-a-public-observation-site/

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1 hour ago, bikeoid said:

What if they relocated one of the old mill water towers and converted it into an observation deck - are they higher than the Unity Park  proposed tower?  For example   https://nextpittsburgh.com/environment/north-parks-iconic-water-tower-finds-new-purpose-as-a-public-observation-site/

Hmmm, now that is a very intriguing idea... 

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On 3/25/2022 at 10:14 AM, bikeoid said:

What if they relocated one of the old mill water towers and converted it into an observation deck - are they higher than the Unity Park  proposed tower?  For example   https://nextpittsburgh.com/environment/north-parks-iconic-water-tower-finds-new-purpose-as-a-public-observation-site/

Looks like you would need a tetanus shot before climbing it.

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53 minutes ago, Galley said:

Looks like you would need a tetanus shot before climbing it.

That wrap around staircase ruins the water tower. I say no to this idea. Our water towers are beautiful pieces of art that shouldn't be added to. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I would assume the city would need to step in and pay for a portion of that work if they want it to happen. Question becomes how high do you build? You will never camouflage everything. Seeing as Duke installed the critter guard fence a few years back doubtful they will put more money toward it unless necessary. 

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The city can spend $60 million on a new park but…

 

Her department is saddled with inadequate manpower, money and "crumbling" infrastructure, Prosser told City Council.

  • Of the city's 27 playgrounds, eight are past useful condition, she reported.
  • Eighteen of the city's 23 picnic shelters and more than 50 of 100-plus benches are in "poor" condition.
  • Seven of the city's 11 parking lots, 24 of 31 individual sports courts and seven of 24 pedestrian bridges are also in "poor" condition.

One of the city's leading priorities is Unity Park, which is promised to be a heavy-hitter for city tourism. City officials say the park will return on investment in spades as visitors enjoy 60 acres of green space, nearby development and a seven-story observation tower, which is still in the works. 

"Some parks have hospitality tax to do the extra things we can do," White told Prosser March 14. "Falls Park is much higher level of service than a park that doesn't have hospitality-tax revenues." 

But Prosser said her department has had problems in the downtown tourism district because there aren't enough workers to keep up with the added demand from new development. The parks department had almost 1,500 overtime hours in 2021, she told City Council. 

The conversation quickly grew testy. 

"Do you realize how much additional property taxes and hospitality taxes we get with embracing development?" the mayor asked Prosser.

"I'm not saying it's a bad thing. I'm saying we've got to have additional staff when we take it on," Prosser replied.

But the mayor's push for Unity Park has triggered blowback from some in the city and even other councilmembers who say the city shouldn't pour money into project at the expense of neglecting what it already has. 

Dorothy Dowe expressed concern that Unity Park's opening will exacerbate issues like staff shortages as Unity Park competes against other capital projects for city resources. 

While the city uses different funding to help pay for Falls Park and Unity Park versus neighborhood parks, "that doesn't matter to the community that lives here," Dowe said. 

"The stakeholders of Greenville are not willing to accept — and I don't blame them, I'm with them — compromising maintenance on our park infrastructure that we have to serve the people who live here to make the hospitality-tax parks look better," Dowe said. "We have to take care of our neighborhood parks with the same tender hand that we take care of our tourists' parks."

"I do not think we should compromise the parks that serve our residents in order to support Falls/Unity Park," Dowe said in a text message. "An increase in staff/budget will be required to support both categories as they require."

Councilmember John DeWorken, who has been a vocal advocate for parks from the North Main district, supports Unity Park but said the city needs more staff working in neighborhood parks, too. 

"I have said that for three years," DeWorken said at the work session. "We need more people." 

Lillian Brock Flemming, whose district includes Unity Park, said the city cannot provide "royal service" with an impoverished staff. 

"That just won't work," she said. "If we're going to be a city that we say we want everybody to be proud of, we definitely want our neighborhoods to be proud first. Every time we add something, God, we need to be thinking about how many people it will grow." 

https://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/news/local/2022/04/11/greenville-sc-tension-builds-weighs-supporting-tourism-residents/7139897001/

Edited by gman430
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1 hour ago, apaladin said:

Always thought this project was over hyped, unnecessary and too expensive. Money could have been used better elsewhere. 

These are interesting points.  Anyone have the numbers on this?  Parks are supposed to increase property values, increase tax revenue, decrease medical costs, increase tourism revenue, encourage possible corporate HQ relocations, etc   I wonder what the projected numbers are for Unity Park vs how much taxpayers put into it.  That side of town, where there are many who cant afford cars to drive to other parks seems to be long overdue in the getting nice things dept as well.

Edited by gvegascple
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1 hour ago, vicupstate said:

Typical news story that tries to find conflict or at least exaggerate it,  than actually exists.  

Half the money being spent is privately funded.  Hospitality tax is kicking in some funding and also a government fund that handles storm water.  Does anyone here think the Delano would be proposed across the street if this park wasn't being built?  There are at least two other condo projects nearby that would might never have seen the light of day without the park going in.   West Greenville is get a lot of new housing as well.  The return on investment from this park is already very evident.      

That footbridge over Verdae was already expected to be included when UP construction began, so that would not have been an alternative option at the time UP was begun. 

 

It seems that the argument is more about hiring more workers to maintain the parks with the comment about staff shortages and all of the required overtime they are having to dole out. 

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43 minutes ago, johnpro318 said:

It seems that the argument is more about hiring more workers to maintain the parks with the comment about staff shortages and all of the required overtime they are having to dole out. 

I agree, but the comments on here are more specific to the park and whether it should have been built at all. 

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1 hour ago, NewlyUpstate said:

Living in the proximity of the park, it is absolutely crazy what the park is doing for property values.

Expect to see lots and lots of high quality development over the next 10 years.

Yes, maintenance of a new project needs to be planned at the time of project execution. That is basic project management, you can't just walk away from a project when it's "complete". You need a long term plan to maintain it as well.  But anyone downplaying the future impact of Unity Park is extraordinarily shortsighted.

 

I'm also not very happy with calling Unity Park and Falls Park "tourist parks". As a resident of Greenville, I use both areas multiple times a week and they were both big reasons why I chose to live in Greenville. They are resident parks that will both be flagship destinations for tourists as well.

Indeed.  I visit Falls Park 2-4 times a month. I might go to Cleveland Park once a year or so.  I have been to McPherson  within the last year but never went prior to that. I never go to any other parks in the city. Most are neighborhoods parks and provide playgrounds and basketball courts and green space and that is about it. 

 

As far as Falls Park there is a private foundation that contributes towards its maintenance and that money can't be spent except on Falls Park.    

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