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westsider28

Possible Morgan Square Changes

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What's everyone's opinion on the possibility of a Morgan Square revamp?

I'm a bit concerned about the lack of true public input so far.  Only small groups, rather than the general public, have weighed in so far.  And it's being led by the Chamber, which has eyes only on $$ rather than the best interests of all citizens.  Also, some of their data is clearly wrong.  Only 9 events on the Square each year?  Music on Main and Jazz on the Square alone account for ~2 dozen individual events.  Skating on the Square is 30+ days.  The list goes on.

IMO, the main improvements I'd like for Morgan Square would be:

--Do more to slow down cars and prioritize pedestrians (even on Church St ideally, though that requires fighting SCDOT)

--Open the lobby of One Morgan Square so people can walk directly through from the Magnolia deck to the Square

--Add ground-floor restaurant/retail spaces to One Morgan Square

--Plant more resilient grass on the Square; otherwise replace it with artificial turf or hardscaping

Thoughts?

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-Get rid of the cut through Street (Dunbar) and add pedestrian activity there......

Take Church St. down and under from Nautilus to the BTC and add public space on top.  The elevation will work

for this and Church St. becomes a no factor for E/W movement. Main St. can stay as it is. Boston had the big dig,

Spartanburg could have this little dig to really improve the Church St. barrier.

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I attended a chamber meeting regarding this topic earlier in the week and...

  • It was generally agreed that the number of events (9) was way too short.  However, there was some confusion over (1) permitted events, and (2) events on private property.  The chamber has promised to look into this discrepancy.
  • The consultant was focused only on the need to increase the capacity of Morgan Square.   He is not a designer or traffic engineer.
  • Most also felt that the city needs to do a better job "programming" events.  In other words, a better mix of events and better scheduling.  
  • Many attendees felt that Barnet Park is underutilized.  However, the park is presently too far removed from commercial activity. 
  • Morgan Square and downtown in general were identified by One Spartanburg respondents (3,180 people) as the places that need the most focus.  

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Dunbar needs to go and be replaced with some brick pavers and flower beds/grass. I can't say that I have ever had an issue crossing Church Street in this area and have never felt unsafe doing so. There are 3 crossings from the Palmetto Loft side of Church into the Morgan Square triangle....I think if the button to change the light for pedestrians was reworked a little to make it a faster response it would be fine. (The idea of going underground with Church made me laugh but in a good way). I think if One Morgan could be prevailed upon to make the grassy end of its lot near Church Street more of a square (wider sidewalks, put the fountain back, plant  a tree or two) that paired with the plaza on the other end make two good connections from the parking deck to Morgan Square.  The grass in Morgan Squre seems to hold up pretty well over all considering we dig it up  every year to put in an Ice Rink and then replant it. Id much rather have real grass than fake stuff but do wonder if moving the Ice Rink down a bit the the green area just past Spring Street would be better. 

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Does Morgan Square need to be an "event venue" to be successful, or can it be improved in such a way as to be a more popular passive gathering space?  I think something as simple as tables & chairs (rather than just benches) would help, as people could eat lunch there, etc.

I don't think any money should be spent to close Dunbar because: 1 - It's so often closed anyway; 2 - It's very lightly traveled even when open, so it's not a barrier; 3 - There's nothing on Dunbar to attract people, hence why 1MS should provide retail/restaurant space. (1MS currently has 12700 sq ft available including 4700 on the ground floor; convert some to retail/restaurant!)

Church has plenty of crossings, but it's still uncomfortable.  Enforcement would help a lot to stop cars speeding, blocking crosswalks, etc.

@sptgguy The grass was fine for years, but this past year it was very bad / patchy all year.

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Wall street was clsoed off to be a festival street. the events I have attended that encompass Wall st Spring St and the Grassy area next to the HJ parking lot seen=m to work well.  The problem I have with chairs and table in the Square would be clean up. I can see it creating a mess very fast.

 

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I am very curious as to where that $12 million figure came from.  Especially if they are saying there aren't any real plans.  That doesn't make any sense.  $12 million is a lot of money for demo and construction.  

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20 hours ago, Historyguy said:

I am very curious as to where that $12 million figure came from.  Especially if they are saying there aren't any real plans.  That doesn't make any sense.  $12 million is a lot of money for demo and construction.  

Also, where would the $12M in funding come from?  If the Chamber has significant cash lying around, I'd prefer they contribute toward a spec office building (public-private partnership) to attract a white-collar company.

Edit: or West Main streetscaping, or East Main road diet, etc, etc.

Edited by westsider28
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This is definitely worthy of its own topic.

 

I would be interested to know what the proposed improvements are.  I see both sides of the discussion. I think Morgan Square is generally well designed, however, there are ways to improve it. Dunbar St (and 1 Morgan Square) is basically dead weight in downtown. As others have mentioned - if you remove Dunbar and expand the surface area of the square to connect to the sidewalk in front of 1 Morgan Square, which would add a ton of space to the Square. Or, you could design Dunbar like Wall Street, and use it on event days for food trucks and what not. I would also remove the fencing around the narrow part of the square. Along with adjusting the surface level so there isn't a wall on the Dunbar side of the square (raising up Dunbar to the Square's elevation), there are lots of options that would add usable square footage to the square.

 

I would want to see more info on this idea... but I will say that I I got my pick I'd rather see it invested in another part of downtown.

 

 

 

 

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