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I figured we should have a thread dedicated to the Highland neighborhood, since there will likely be a lot of change happening here soon.  The City has put out an RFQ for planning, architectural, and urban design services for the development of a transformation plan for the Highland neighborhood, so that will be moving forward over the next few months and years.

I also noticed today that the remainder of the old Cammie Claggett buildings have been fenced off, so demolition should be starting shortly.  Of course, the new Highland Crossing affordable apartments replaced one block of the old public housing units about 2 years ago.  Nothing has yet been planned to replace the remaining units.  But that's where the plan referenced above will come into play.

Finally, Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church is expanding their facility and looking to engage in more community outreach.

This is obviously a very challenged neighborhood, but I hope that improvements and positive investments in the area can help turn things around over time.

Edited by westsider28
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At their meeting on Monday, City Council voted 7-0 to approve the recently completed Highland Transformation Plan and incorporate the neighborhood plan into the City's ongoing citywide comprehensive p

At last night's meeting, City Council awarded a contract to APD Urban Planning + Management to create a Highland Master Plan, which is expected to take around 12 months to complete.  Great to see this

There is now a new website for the Highland Master Plan process.  It has documents from the previous few meetings.  The next public meeting is August 13 at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church.  The bo

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Demolition of the remainder of Cammie Clagett Courts is underway and will be complete in June.  Then the property will be given to Habitat for Humanity of Spartanburg, Homes of Hope, Nehemiah Community Revitalization Corporation, Northside Development Group and ReGenesis Community Development Corporation (Upstate Housing Partnership).

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There is now a new website for the Highland Master Plan process.  It has documents from the previous few meetings.  The next public meeting is August 13 at Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church.  The boundaries of the plan are surprisingly large; encompassing the south side of West Main, the Spartan Grain site, and the old Ingles site on JBW, Sr Blvd. 

One of the documents from a previous meeting mentions a possible redevelopment of the old Ingles site (555 JBW, Sr Blvd) and a possible bike/ped path along Forest Street.  Redevelopment of Prince Hall and Norris Ridge are also prioritized. 

I think something similar to the Northside plan would work well here.  Also, more connectivity is needed, as the neighborhood is pretty isolated.  It will be interesting to see how this plan develops.

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This is great.

Forest Drive is possibly the most overbuilt street in the City, and a couple of new street connections would go a long way. Also, that stretch of JBWSr Blvd is looking rough.... but due to its age has a lot of potential to be something better.

 

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I was looking at next Monday's City Council agenda (PDF), and it looks like the City may have a solution for Norris Ridge!

The City is looking at entering into a development agreement with EquityPlus LLC where they will develop 190 units of affordable housing at "Midtowne Heights" on Wofford St near the future FD (see map below), give Norris Ridge residents priority to move there, then demolish Norris Ridge and redevelop the site.   There's also the provision for additional workforce housing at Midtowne Heights (presumably Phase 2 on map) by 2025.  And there will be space reserved for The Dan Trail along Wofford Street.

Obviously this is a long-term effort, but it's definitely great to see, and should benefit both neighborhoods and many residents. 

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(I may cross-post this info on the Northside thread too)

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A $300,000 grant from South Carolina First Steps will be used to renovate a 3,520 square foot city-owned building at 400 Highland Avenue into a new Highland Community Early Learning Center, which will provide classroom space for 18 First Steps 4K children.  The facility will be operated by the Bethlehem Center.  The vision is to use other public and private funding to expand services to children 0-5 in a similar manner as the blending of early childhood programs and funding streams that created the Franklin School on the Northside.

This is great news for the neighborhood.  I hope the program can be expanded as envisioned.  Early childhood education is key to future success.

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At their meeting on Monday, City Council voted 7-0 to approve the recently completed Highland Transformation Plan and incorporate the neighborhood plan into the City's ongoing citywide comprehensive plan.  Heavy on community involvement and engagement, the process examined Highland as a whole, both its assets and its challenges, ultimately creating a blueprint for everything from housing, public spaces, and transportation, to education at all levels and job training programs.  Here's a link to the PDF of the plan (144 pages).

There is a large amount of background info about current conditions, challenges, and opportunities (page 7+, page 59+).  Then there's info about the community meetings and the assets, problems, and desires for the future that residents and others identified (page 38+).  Then there are the recommendations for future development and investment in the neighborhood (page 79+).  And finally, implementation strategies, timelines, and goals (page 113+).

From skimming through the plan, some of the key focuses are: retain current residents, build on strength of community anchors (Bethlehem Center, Macedonia Church, Stewart Park), increase transportation accessibility (improve walkability/bike-ability, safer intersections, new trails), quality new development (bldg materials, walkability, parks and open space), add commercial / retail development along high-traffic corridors.

High-level goals are (page 115): increase in homeownership rate (15% to 29%), shift in income levels (reduction in households below 50% AMI from 63% to 21%), increase in households and more diverse incomes (double population thru development of vacant sites, mixed-income w/50% market-rate), decrease vacancy, decrease concentrated poverty, retention of current residents.

Catalytic projects envisioned are (page 116):

Cammie Clagget Project (mixed-use gateway development including retail and a variety of housing), first project in plan (within ~5 years)

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Norris Ridge Redevelopment (100-unit townhouse rental community for people at or below 60% AMI)

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JM Fields Project (commercial, multi-family, and townhomes)

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Longer term projects (page 118) include: Johnson Property (former Spartan Grain site) where it's hoped a grocery store could be part of the development, a redeveloped / new Bethlehem Center, and a redeveloped Prince Hall (100 new affordable units in multi-family buildings).

The master plan map is on page 119 (and an attempted 2-part version below).  I encourage you to read over the plan yourself.  Lots of interesting stuff in there.  I hope it can be as successful as the Northside Initiative.  Lots of potential here!

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I like the they are trying to fill in the neighborhood with correctly scaled development. I don't think this is revolutionary, but it is definitely the type of thing that is needed for that area.

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