Spartan

#OneSpartanburg

11 posts in this topic

I've heard about #OneSpartanburg before, but quite frankly I thought it was just a clever marketing campaign (which I really like, BTW). After reading this article in the Herald-Journal, I now understand that it's part of a much larger effort to move Spartanburg forward. The best part is that there is real money being set aside to actually fund positions for an action team to help address the issues in the report.

The article also states that a new Downtown Development Partnership is going to be established. This model is used quite successfully in many other cities to attract development to downtown.

I would love to get a copy of the report. I feel like they really hit the nail on the head because I can relate to some of this personally - notably the loss of homegrown talent (ie: I left) and a lack of quality of life options (needed to attract people my age) which is related to talent development and economic development.

Below are some excerpts from the HJ article that I think are noteworthy.

  • Low educational attainment rate and a growing gap compared with cities of similar size.
    “While Spartanburg County’s schools generally received high praise … graduates tend to be less well-prepared than their counterparts nationwide,” the report states.
  • Skyrocketing child poverty rate.
    From 2009 to 2014, the poverty rate rose 2.9 percent for all residents — twice the national average and three times the state average. For children, the poverty rate rose 6.7 percent during that time. “That one in four children live below the poverty line is of paramount concern,” the report states.
  • Loss of homegrown talent.
    -The county’s population between ages 25 and 34 increased by 3.8 percent from 2004 to 2014, less than half the state and national growth rates. Spartanburg also lost 1,655 residents ages 25 to 44 from 2004 to 2014.
    -“Spartanburg County has an immediate need to improve its talent base than can be addressed only through talent attraction,” the report states.
  • Downtown/quality of life options.
    -While the Chapman Cultural Center, the HUB-BUB artist-in-residence program and the county’s walking/biking trails were frequently lauded, also noted was the need for more shopping and dining opportunities and nightlife options. The report cited an east side/west side divide that is “geographical and cultural,” and racial divisions that still exist.
    -The report suggests creating a downtown partnership with the Business Improvement District that would allow property owners to voluntarily raise their taxes to fund improvements and services that in return increase their property values.
  • Poor entryways into the city.
    Concerns cited include blighted properties, underutilized or outdated commercial properties and key corridors that lack visual appeal.
  • Talent development.
    The report suggest working to attract educated people with local roots who may want to return and settle here.
  • Economic development.
    A marketing program to promote Spartanburg as a destination for jobs and investment and the development of research partnerships between companies and universities also were recommended.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


Ok, I found this website: http://www.onespartanburg.com/

And the report/action plan: http://www.onespartanburg.com/project-details-documents/

 

I also wanted to comment about the east/west divide. I think it's interesting that they talk about it being an issue from both a geographic and cultural standpoint. I've always known it to be a cultural thing, but never really thought of it as an 'issue' that needs to be addressed somehow. What do y'all think?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, Spartan said:

Ok, I found this website: http://www.onespartanburg.com/

And the report/action plan: http://www.onespartanburg.com/project-details-documents/

 

I also wanted to comment about the east/west divide. I think it's interesting that they talk about it being an issue from both a geographic and cultural standpoint. I've always known it to be a cultural thing, but never really thought of it as an 'issue' that needs to be addressed somehow. What do y'all think?

I was surprised when the report included the "Eastside / Westside" thing.  Growing up on the Westside in the 70's I knew that most of Spartanburg's professional class lived on the Eastside.  There was a perception that Eastsiders were "snobby" too.  But, to me, it was never a big deal. Today, I don't sense that. 

The Eastside has always seemed is a bit quieter than the Westside and with a stronger sense of community. The Westside, more middle class, more transient.

Edited by roads-scholar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Spartan said:

I've heard about #OneSpartanburg before, but quite frankly I thought it was just a clever marketing campaign (which I really like, BTW). After reading this article in the Herald-Journal, I now understand that it's part of a much larger effort to move Spartanburg forward. The best part is that there is real money being set aside to actually fund positions for an action team to help address the issues in the report.

The article also states that a new Downtown Development Partnership is going to be established. This model is used quite successfully in many other cities to attract development to downtown.

I would love to get a copy of the report. I feel like they really hit the nail on the head because I can relate to some of this personally - notably the loss of homegrown talent (ie: I left) and a lack of quality of life options (needed to attract people my age) which is related to talent development and economic development.

Below are some excerpts from the HJ article that I think are noteworthy.

  • Low educational attainment rate and a growing gap compared with cities of similar size.
    “While Spartanburg County’s schools generally received high praise … graduates tend to be less well-prepared than their counterparts nationwide,” the report states.
  • Skyrocketing child poverty rate.
    From 2009 to 2014, the poverty rate rose 2.9 percent for all residents — twice the national average and three times the state average. For children, the poverty rate rose 6.7 percent during that time. “That one in four children live below the poverty line is of paramount concern,” the report states.
  • Loss of homegrown talent.
    -The county’s population between ages 25 and 34 increased by 3.8 percent from 2004 to 2014, less than half the state and national growth rates. Spartanburg also lost 1,655 residents ages 25 to 44 from 2004 to 2014.
    -“Spartanburg County has an immediate need to improve its talent base than can be addressed only through talent attraction,” the report states.
  • Downtown/quality of life options.
    -While the Chapman Cultural Center, the HUB-BUB artist-in-residence program and the county’s walking/biking trails were frequently lauded, also noted was the need for more shopping and dining opportunities and nightlife options. The report cited an east side/west side divide that is “geographical and cultural,” and racial divisions that still exist.
    -The report suggests creating a downtown partnership with the Business Improvement District that would allow property owners to voluntarily raise their taxes to fund improvements and services that in return increase their property values.
  • Poor entryways into the city.
    Concerns cited include blighted properties, underutilized or outdated commercial properties and key corridors that lack visual appeal.
  • Talent development.
    The report suggest working to attract educated people with local roots who may want to return and settle here.
  • Economic development.
    A marketing program to promote Spartanburg as a destination for jobs and investment and the development of research partnerships between companies and universities also were recommended.

The report doesn't attempt to sugarcoat or gloss over anything.  Its a frank assessment of our shortcomings and challenges. 

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, roads-scholar said:

I was surprised when the report included the "Eastside / Westside" thing.  Growing up on the Westside in the 70's I knew that most of Spartanburg's professional class lived on the Eastside.  There was a perception that Eastsiders were "snobby" too.  But, to me, it was never a big deal. Today, I don't sense that. 

The Eastside has always seemed is a bit quieter than the Westside and with a stronger sense of community. The Westside, more middle class, more transient.

Interesting. Growing up on the east side, I always associated it with old money and the west side with new money and lots of traffic. Generally speaking, the so-called "wealth" in Spartanburg is generally concentrated in just a few neighborhoods on either side of town and to some extent Lake Bowen and Carolina Country Club. The majority of Spartanburg seems to be middle class (when you include areas outside of the city limits).

This is the section from the report. It also references a much more detailed explanation on p45 (not 35). It's definitely worth a read if you haven't had a chance to do so. It talks about many of the issues being descended from the mill era - everything from the mill villages being isolated communities and economic entities to that being the reason we have so many fire districts and other taxing districts (aka: Special Service Districts). I think it's also related to SC's inability to grasp what local governments need to be to function well. I also think the east/west divide is somewhat related to the difficulty getting between the two sides of town. You essentially only have I-85, Main Street, and 295. Sure there are other roads, but they aren't direct or they eventually force you to access one of those roads. 

Openness

Open communities are those in which there are few real or perceived barriers to community engagement and all residents are able to thrive. The public input process revealed there are numerous divisions within Spartanburg County that limit its openness. Stakeholders frequently referred to an “East/West” divide that is both geographical and cultural. Input participants said the eastern portion of the county is generally perceived to be comprised of long-tenured communities, while the county’s western portions are home to many residents who are relatively newer to the community. According to input participants, this divide has deep roots. Said one stakeholder, “the ‘culture of Eastside and Westside’ still exists after many decades (and shows) no signs of changing.”

Stakeholders also noted that despite significant progress in recent years, racial divisions still persist within the community. This is supported by online survey responses to questions about the community’s diversity and inclusivity. With responses cross-tabulated by race and ethnicity, a narrow majority (54.0 percent) of individuals who identified as white agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “opportunities, Spartanburg County Community and Economic Development Strategy – Community Assessment Page 35 – April, 2016 communities and networks in Spartanburg County are accessible and open to a diverse range of people and cultures.” But just 28.1 percent of respondents who identified as black agreed with this statement, while 44.6 percent disagreed or strongly agreed. A similar division was seen in responses to the prompt “Spartanburg County is an inclusive place” – 46.4 percent of white participants agreed or strongly agreed compared to just 27.5 percent of black respondents. It should be emphasized that the online survey was not scientific, and the views of any one group of participants do not necessarily represent those of the entire population. But these differences are nevertheless striking and are consistent with qualitative input received through interviews and focus groups.

Input participants who believed that Spartanburg County was not an inclusive community noted that this perception is not strictly confined to racial divisions. Many mentioned that Spartanburg County can come across as “cliquish,” which can be discouraging to new members of the community seeking to break through. Additionally, others mentioned that the county’s large size and the dispersion of many rural communities throughout the county can exacerbate feelings of separateness. One input participants said that Spartanburg County as a whole is welcoming to outsiders, but there are noticeable internal divides that break down by areas within the county. These real and perceived community divisions will be discussed in further detail in the eighth and final story in this Assessment.

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've always perceived the Eastside as being more involved in the Spartanburg community, regardless of socio-economic status (volunteering, going downtown more, supporting local businesses) while the Westside is more disengaged (shop/eat at chains, don't go downtown and/or prefer Greenville).  Westsiders seem like they live in Spartanburg, but they aren't really a part of Spartanburg.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, westsider28 said:

I've always perceived the Eastside as being more involved in the Spartanburg community, regardless of socio-economic status (volunteering, going downtown more, supporting local businesses) while the Westside is more disengaged (shop/eat at chains, don't go downtown and/or prefer Greenville).  Westsiders seem like they live in Spartanburg, but they aren't really a part of Spartanburg.

I think your perception is generally correct.  The bulk of the city's population, I think, is east of Fairforest Creek.  Most of the "Westside" population lives outside the city proper.  Going downtown is "too much trouble" is what you hear from folks.   

Westsiders who live out toward Duncan / Lyman / Wellford or Reidville probably don't visit downtown very much but I have nothing to support that hypothesis.

Edited by roads-scholar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/25/2017 at 1:32 PM, Spartan said:

Interesting. Growing up on the east side, I always associated it with old money and the west side with new money and lots of traffic. Generally speaking, the so-called "wealth" in Spartanburg is generally concentrated in just a few neighborhoods on either side of town and to some extent Lake Bowen and Carolina Country Club. The majority of Spartanburg seems to be middle class (when you include areas outside of the city limits).

This is the section from the report. It also references a much more detailed explanation on p45 (not 35). It's definitely worth a read if you haven't had a chance to do so. It talks about many of the issues being descended from the mill era - everything from the mill villages being isolated communities and economic entities to that being the reason we have so many fire districts and other taxing districts (aka: Special Service Districts). I think it's also related to SC's inability to grasp what local governments need to be to function well. I also think the east/west divide is somewhat related to the difficulty getting between the two sides of town. You essentially only have I-85, Main Street, and 295. Sure there are other roads, but they aren't direct or they eventually force you to access one of those roads. 

Openness

Open communities are those in which there are few real or perceived barriers to community engagement and all residents are able to thrive. The public input process revealed there are numerous divisions within Spartanburg County that limit its openness. Stakeholders frequently referred to an “East/West” divide that is both geographical and cultural. Input participants said the eastern portion of the county is generally perceived to be comprised of long-tenured communities, while the county’s western portions are home to many residents who are relatively newer to the community. According to input participants, this divide has deep roots. Said one stakeholder, “the ‘culture of Eastside and Westside’ still exists after many decades (and shows) no signs of changing.”

Stakeholders also noted that despite significant progress in recent years, racial divisions still persist within the community. This is supported by online survey responses to questions about the community’s diversity and inclusivity. With responses cross-tabulated by race and ethnicity, a narrow majority (54.0 percent) of individuals who identified as white agreed or strongly agreed with the statement “opportunities, Spartanburg County Community and Economic Development Strategy – Community Assessment Page 35 – April, 2016 communities and networks in Spartanburg County are accessible and open to a diverse range of people and cultures.” But just 28.1 percent of respondents who identified as black agreed with this statement, while 44.6 percent disagreed or strongly agreed. A similar division was seen in responses to the prompt “Spartanburg County is an inclusive place” – 46.4 percent of white participants agreed or strongly agreed compared to just 27.5 percent of black respondents. It should be emphasized that the online survey was not scientific, and the views of any one group of participants do not necessarily represent those of the entire population. But these differences are nevertheless striking and are consistent with qualitative input received through interviews and focus groups.

Input participants who believed that Spartanburg County was not an inclusive community noted that this perception is not strictly confined to racial divisions. Many mentioned that Spartanburg County can come across as “cliquish,” which can be discouraging to new members of the community seeking to break through. Additionally, others mentioned that the county’s large size and the dispersion of many rural communities throughout the county can exacerbate feelings of separateness. One input participants said that Spartanburg County as a whole is welcoming to outsiders, but there are noticeable internal divides that break down by areas within the county. These real and perceived community divisions will be discussed in further detail in the eighth and final story in this Assessment.

 

After reading the report it made sense to me that all the mill villages and other small towns in the county have contributed to the historical disengagement.  For example Woodruff, while in Spartanburg County and it's second largest city, has always seemed unconnected and distant from the city of Spartanburg although its only 19 miles away,  Same for Chesnee, Landrum, and others.  Most of the mill villages, save for Beaumont and Spartan Mill, have until just recently always been rather culturally and socially independent from Spartanburg.

And to chime in again on the "Eastside-Westside divide", I just don't see it the same way as the survey participants.  Yes, there was a divide years ago but not today. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


This is long overdue. It is hard to improve the quality of life in a community built on warehouse and distribution jobs. They pay

just a little better than Walmart or McDonald's. There is hardly enough income for any to be disposable, much less raise a family

on. I have always wondered why everyone get so excited over a distribution center that creates 400 jobs. 395 employees will make

12 -18 dollars per hour and 5 will make 40-60K. We'll give every incentive and perpetuate the lower income. I guess its better than

nothing, but its hard to support the restaurants, shopping, ball teams, theater, and other desirable entertainment options on lower

income jobs. 

Anyway, This is a good move and much needed. So happy to see the County finally step up and realize the importance of this. I hope

the incentive packages for white collar jobs will exceed those that have been given for the lower paying jobs and we can begin to see

an uptick of high paying jobs downtown.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I generally agree with that. I don't want to diminish the importance of blue collar jobs though. It's just the ratio of blue-to-white that needs to improve.

I think white collar jobs are generally less dependent on incentives too. White collar employees are looking for quality of life for their employees. They want entertainment options, recreation options, good schools/colleges, and educated workforce, low crime, etc. Spartanburg already has very low taxes and cost of living compared to other places - even Greenville. Focusing on improving the other things will result in positive change.

The great divide in Spartanburg is also related to how black people fit into the community. The east and west are also geographically split by the two "bad" parts of town that also happen to be low income, mostly minority (and largely African-American) neighborhoods. This problem is compounded by the fact that these two parts of the community are only partially in the city. The City of Spartanburg would actually be in a good position to do something about it, but because they can't spend money on things outside of the city limits, any efforts to revitalize the area would be hampered by the fact that they can't invest in the entire geographic area that needs it. It sucks too because the City is much better about being proactive than they used to be. And the ultimate irony is that even though the City is annexing when it can, it probably has little to no interest in grabbing up low tax-value residential properties.

I'm mainly thinking about the Una/Saxon/Southern Shops area of town. That area is extremely isolated due to the road network, and when you're in there it's super confusing. Saxon in particular has a lot of potential as a neighborhood, especially if the old mill could be revitalized in some way.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/28/2017 at 10:22 AM, Spartan said:

I generally agree with that. I don't want to diminish the importance of blue collar jobs though. It's just the ratio of blue-to-white that needs to improve.

I think white collar jobs are generally less dependent on incentives too. White collar employees are looking for quality of life for their employees. They want entertainment options, recreation options, good schools/colleges, and educated workforce, low crime, etc. Spartanburg already has very low taxes and cost of living compared to other places - even Greenville. Focusing on improving the other things will result in positive change.

The great divide in Spartanburg is also related to how black people fit into the community. The east and west are also geographically split by the two "bad" parts of town that also happen to be low income, mostly minority (and largely African-American) neighborhoods. This problem is compounded by the fact that these two parts of the community are only partially in the city. The City of Spartanburg would actually be in a good position to do something about it, but because they can't spend money on things outside of the city limits, any efforts to revitalize the area would be hampered by the fact that they can't invest in the entire geographic area that needs it. It sucks too because the City is much better about being proactive than they used to be. And the ultimate irony is that even though the City is annexing when it can, it probably has little to no interest in grabbing up low tax-value residential properties.

I'm mainly thinking about the Una/Saxon/Southern Shops area of town. That area is extremely isolated due to the road network, and when you're in there it's super confusing. Saxon in particular has a lot of potential as a neighborhood, especially if the old mill could be revitalized in some way.

I have been hoping one day with the Northside development on Howard Street that some of that could spill over to Hayne Street and Saxon/Arcadia/Fairforest (already seeing some revival with the condos and nice Dollar General) could become little urban villages further connecting Downtown to the Westside (reuse old buildings for little restaurants, shops, and cafes).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.