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emo

How does the rest of the state view Spartanburg?

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ok, so i've had the feeling since going away to school that people from greenville really look down on spartanburg. i started to get this feeling when I would tell other students where I was from and they would respond with a sort of disappointment in their voice. since then i've met several other people from our neighboring city and they haven't hesitated to let me know that they think it's a blue collar town with nothing going on. i was having a discussion with one of my professors recently about the way much of the country still stereotypes south carolina. we were talking about how disappointing it was that people think the south is a bunch of illiterates. he then continued and told me that much of greenville views spartanburg in the same way the rest of the country views south carolina. it's been really disappointing for me to learn all of this and experience some of the prejudices from these people.

i also recently learned that greenville does everything in it's power to keep the traveling broadway shows from coming to spartanburg. they are willing to pay any cost to keep the shows from coming to our city so they can have the title of "the place" to see a show. how disappointing.

in my opinion, when people talk about spartanburg being behind or say things like "you'll never catch up to greenville" , i think that those comments are what hold us back the most.

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I do think that there are a lot of people in Sc that look at Spartanburg as the ugly stepsister to Greenville, but I don't think that it is a result of a conspiracy by Greenville. I think it is the result of some poor leadership in the 70's and 80's. A city that was the transportation Hub of SC, had Elvis in it's theatres, had (and still has) the largest auditorium, and Charles Lindberg parading down it's streets sounds successful to me. Lets face it.... Spartanburg dropped the ball where Greenville ran with it. I love Spartanburg, but can't blame Greenville.

I remember seeing several Broadway shows at the SMA, but the renovation was long overdue. by the time we got around to it as a community, many touring shows had blacklisted the auditorium because of it's backstage facilities and poor load-ins. We are just now starting to regroup.

That said, the city is now under wonderful leadership and is starting to right it's course. We need to market ourselves better. Once people visit, their perceptions will change. Emo mentioned in another thread a visit to the new Z-mart on Morgan Square. This market is owned by a young couple from Greenville who came to Spartanburg and fell in love with the city. We have potential!!

My biggest concern for Spartanburg is on the legislative level. We have no clout in Columbia. As a matter of fact, it seems that there are other senators who love to hold Spartanburg back. The most recent being Sen. Leatherman.

Spartanburg does have an image problem that only Spartanburg and people like Emo, Spartan and others on this board can fix.

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No clout? I don't know about no clout. We have several people near the top of the game.

The Secretarty of Commerce is a Wofford grad (not sure where he lives now- Columbia iI assume)

Doug Smith is Speaker Pro Tem. of the house

There are several others that are up there, but I can't recall who they are.

The problem is that we don't have enough clout, and we have an idotic legislature, which only compounds the problem

That said, Charleston seems to run the show on most levels. Even Greenville and Columbia can't compare. I have no use for that Leatherman guy.

I think that people tend to overlook Spartanburg...why? I am not 100% sure. Probably because it has had more in common with Florence in the past 20 years than Greenville (in terms of appearance). It has been a generally ugly town for some time, and people remember that, then they don't go back to see if its changed. The biggest physical changes have been happening over the past 10 years or so, but mostly in the past 6 or 7.

I am not at all surprised that Greenville has come up in this discussion. We are always compared to them first, and we are always related to them. That said, I hope we get some Greenvillians opinions.

I can believe that Greenville would try to steal shows or whatever they can from us. I guess Greenville can't stand the idea that we can actually do something as well as them, if not better in some regards. They have to be better than everyone for some reason. I think that many people in Greenville us like we view Gaffney, if that helps any. The difference is that there is some truth in our view :rolleyes:

That said, its not all about Greenville. I personally make it a point to not compare what Greenville is doing to what we are going. We are not Greenville. That said, I want to hear what other people from other parts of the state think about us.

I agree that Spartanburg is just now starting to re-flourish.The image we have will start to change as more people begin to see that Spartanburg is not some dead city. The current leadership is acutally getting things done, and for the better. Hopefully Barnett will get re-elected this year. We have a lot of good projects on the table, and a lot to look forward to in the future.

We definately do have an image problem. I want to point out that its not just something that emo, hub-city, or myself can fix. Its something that everyone can fix. Just make sure that if the conversation permits, give a plug for Spartanburg. Don't be afraid or ashamed to do it. I make sure that everyone knows I am from Spartanburg. I am not annoying about it, but I take every socially-acceptable chance to make sure that people know its there. Someday, people will change their attitudes, but its going to take the work of everone, not just a few people.

I look forward to reading what other people have to say.

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When I was growing up in Mrytle Beach we saw Spartanburg and Greenville as the same place because it was so far away. "Oh thats in the upstate".

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I don't blame Greenville and personally have never heard of anyone from Greenville knock Spartanburg. There is some envy toward Greenville in Spartanburg (I myself am somewhat guilty but that's because I love my town so much) but, as I see it, this is not a major problem. In fact, Spartanburg's mayor Bill Barnet is constantly praising Greenville's leaders and their accomplishments.

There are naysayers, doubters, and cynics in every town and Spartanburg has it's fair share (read the Stroller column in the H-J). Fortunately, Spartanburg has a progressive-minded mayor who has the backing and support of many like-minded citizens who are slowly but surely redefining our town.

As far as the rest of the state, emo you may be right. Afterall, South Carolina is a pretty parochial state.

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I agree Spartan, we should have clout in Columbia, but as the saying goes..."show me the money"

We had millions promised to Renaissance only to have it pulled after the project got started. We did recoup a little but not all or nearly enough. (look at the funding for charles town landing)

USC Upstate is not properly funded

Our arts center gets maybe 500,000 while an arts center in Florence gets 6 million.

Our auditorium is on the bottom of the funding list

We're not being allowed to change Spartanburg Tech's name. (agree or not it should be a local decision)

We're being forced to start school later under the pretense that parents will have more time with their children. that's a crock because they didn't change the required number of days to attend. Same amount of time, different part of summer is all.

We have 1300 jobs in jeopardy because some idiot leaks the information.

this is just a few examples and all the other cities could probably do the same, but it just seems that our local delegation has ticked off some powerful people and we're the ones suffering.

Forgive my spelling, I'm not even checking.

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From my perspective, it still seems like Spartanburg is holding its own, so to speak. While Greenville has clearly emerged as the leader in the Upstate, Spartanburg hasn't exactly been neglected. There are still some positives for the city that many others around its size can't boast about, including the largest municipal auditorium in the state, a significant college presence, and a substantial number of company HQ's for a city its size. Everytime I drive through DT Spartanburg, I can't help but think, "This is a city that's DYING to get to the next level." If Spartanburg can manage to attract some decent investment, such as perhaps a new mid-rise or small high-rise, some DT residential, or another DT hotel, that will help. But from what I can tell, people still recognize Spartanburg as one of the "big dogs" in the state, just not exactly on the level of the Big Three.

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Our arts center gets maybe 500,000 while an arts center in Florence gets 6 million.

Our auditorium is on the bottom of the funding list

We're not being allowed to change Spartanburg Tech's name. (agree or not it should be a local decision)

I did not know that the Florence arts center got 6 million. Thats definately wrong. However, we raised a large portion of our money locally, and the fact that we are building it anyway speaks volumes about our community.

Not only is our auditorum the largest, but it has plans for expansion (parking deck, new show space)

I go back and forth on the Tech issue. Sometimes I agree that it should be a statewide decision (since the schools are state funded, and we are going for a theme here). I also agree that it should be a local issue, and some seantor from Darlington should not have any say in the matter. Doug Smith said that Leatherman broke the tradition though, and got involved in local another areas local affairs. I am all about breaking tradition in the State government.

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It is natural for people in Greenville to think less of Spartanburg, though I know it is not as bad as most Spartans imagine. I personally see Greenville on a completely different level now. After spending great amounts of time in Spartanburg, I see it as a nice town with plenty of things to do and see (depending on what you like), but it is still quite a distance behind the level of growth Greenville has experienced as is experiencing today. To ignore this fact could be a disaster for Spartanburg, but I doubt anyone is or will be forgeting it as both cities are tied fairly strongly together in the Upstate relationship - which isn't going to disappear anytime soon. Spartanburg seems to be taking the right steps in changing its image. This will eventually return in more people visualizing it as a place to visit or live (it already has done so, as some have said). Looking at the city in that knowledge, I could see myself possibly calling it home someday. I don't see Spartanburg ever overtaking Greenville as the heart of the Upstate's economy, but it will always be an important element and asset to the state economy. That's just part of my viewpoint in a nutshell. :)

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I'll add a thought from Anderson. People from Anderson don't think about Spartanburg too much. I think we generally view it as the slightly larger city on the other side of Greenville that we don't know much about.

I also usually tie Spartanburg much more closely with Charlotte than the rest of the upstate.

That said, I think most people from Anderson would be surprised at Spartanburg's downtown. It is something Anderson could aspire to grow towards in the next 15 years.

I agree with the posts that Greenville is in the next league. I don't know that there is really a city to compare Spartanburg with in SC. I don't think Florence is a good comparison. I think of Florence being more like Anderson, one tier down in terms of size. That's just my impression.

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growing up in cary, north carolina i would always visit family in spartanburg, i always thought fondly of it and it was a nice place, later in life when i moved there i really didnt like it, but that has more to do with me than the place. hehe.

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I do not usually hear people in Greenville put down Sptbg. I think that Sptbg people do more comparing to Gville than Gville people do to Sptbg. I see Spartanburg as a good compliment to Greenville, but not a town that competes with it. I think Sptbg is like Durham in this regard, the smaller of two cities in a major metro area (of course there are three here with Anderson). I sometimes feel that if there were not this inter competition among the upstate big three, that one of them would have a better chance at becoming a big city (much like the situation in SC with the big three). But of course there is good and bad in that. Someone started a thread before about whether or not Sptbg is a subub of greenville. I would say no, but I think it is becoming more of a suburb. Greenville's growth has far outpaced that of Sptbgs, and it continues to get the attention. I do not feel like I have any reason to go to Spbg, but I can see where people from Spbg would need or want to come to Gville. I think it has a lot of potential, but as the upstte continues to fill in it's gaps and sprawl together, a leader will have to step up. Greenville has done that, and it will be increasingly difficult for Sptbg, Anderson, or even Greer or Mauldin to change that. In the long run, it will be important for Sptbg and Anderson counties and cities to continue to develop, but they will inevitably become extensions of the Greenville metro as Greenville seems on the edge of a major boom. Again, I think Sptbg is a great compliment, and another positive attraction for the upstate as a whole. But it lacks the leadership, vision, and , heck I'll say it "drive" that Greenville has had. It will not overtake Gville as the cheif upstate city, but it suld remain a great asset to the upstate if is lead in the right direction.

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I've never known any Greenvillians to look down on Spartanburg. Not really sure how long timers view it. I've only lived in the Upstate for a few years and I can tell you how I view it.

When I was moving to Upstate from out of state, my real estate agent showed me homes not only in and around Greenville, but also Spartanburg. I viewed it as one area. (It's only what 18 miles apart.....thats nothing) Spartanburg has some great neighborhoods (Converse Heights, etc) and the prices are better than in Greenville. I've known several people that have moved to Upstate and chosen Spartanburg for this reason....great housing and a better price.

Since I've lived here, I've come to view it much like the Minneapolis/St.Paul relationship. Minneapolis would be Greenville and St. Paul would be Spartanburg. Minneapolis and Greenville are the primary business centers....I think in Greenville's case even more, considering Anderson is short hop westward. With Greenville being the bullseyes center of a large Upstate population, national retailers placed their stores in Greenville to take advantage of it's central location. Growth starting radiating out from this central bullseye. Growth feeds on itself....more growth = more growth. Greenville became the dominant city in the Upstate.

I do think Greenville's leadership has been incredible from what I've seen. Can't comment on Spartanburgs as I'm not familiar enough with the subject. Will Spartanburg continue to grow? Most definitely yes! Will it become the dominant city, who knows, but I don't see it happening. Greenville has stepped into a higher tier. With all that said, I think Greenville, Spartanburg and Anderson TOGETHER make one great region and one fierce competitor for other Southern cities. :thumbsup:

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it's been my experience that people in Greenville look down on Spartanburg.. but people in Charlotte or Atlanta think that Greenville is back woods :yahoo: Go figure!

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Those of you who commented that Spartanburg lacks leadership need to pay closer attention to your neighbor. Mayor Barnet is a very progressive leader who has shepherded many great things for Spartanburg in a relatively short period of time. .

Possibly you were thinking of the county instead of the city.

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I personally don't view Spartanburg negatively. Just as a smaller city than Greenville on the other side of Greer. I've never really thought of any competition between the two cities- not saying that it doesn't exist, but I've never really considered it. If the upstate is to go anywhere in SC, the Southeast, and the nation, then Greenville and Spartanburg need to be partners in crime. Competition would only hold us back- what's good for Spartanburg is good for Greenville and Greenville for Spartanburg.

Side Story about Greenville and Spartanburg-- I was in south Georgia a few years back and ran into this family from Beaufort at a gas station. Anyway we got to talking and I said that I was from Greenville. Their daughter, middle school age, asked her mom where Greenville was. Her mom replied "It's up next to Spartanburg." Her daughter then knew exactly where we were talking about.

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Always thought of Spartanburg as my second home in SC because it pretty much is. It's my mothers hometown and tons of my family live in Spartanburg and Union counties. I've always viewed it as just another SC city, smaller than where I', from but not negatively. I think Spartanburg got hit hard by the textile slowdown but so did alot of peidmont cities in the Carolinas (Kannapolis, etc.) The south is young and as long as the area continues to take steps to improve the current situation I can't see why things there would take a downturn.

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I think people who aren't familiar with any area look at relative town sizes and distances, and if a place is smaller and a 30 minute or so drive, then they assume it's a bedroom community or suburb. It seems like the one thing Spartanburg really has going for it, esp. compared to Greenville, is it's school system. I've been told that BMW's main criteria along those lines was to look for a system with a good Orchestra program, the thinking being that any district with a good orchestra program would necessarily have all the basics covered.

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I think people who aren't familiar with any area look at relative town sizes and distances, and if a place is smaller and a 30 minute or so drive, then they assume it's a bedroom community or suburb. It seems like the one thing Spartanburg really has going for it, esp. compared to Greenville, is it's school system. I've been told that BMW's main criteria along those lines was to look for a system with a good Orchestra program, the thinking being that any district with a good orchestra program would necessarily have all the basics covered.

Interesting points, though some may argue otherwise. Spartanburg has too many school districts, though most of the schools are pretty good. There are many advocates for fewer districts so that more money can go to the schools (less administrative costs). Spartanburg has 7 districts, which is the most in the state. Being the 4th largest urban area in the state in pretty much every way, you'd think that we would have a school system that parallels the others in this state.

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I think people who aren't familiar with any area look at relative town sizes and distances, and if a place is smaller and a 30 minute or so drive, then they assume it's a bedroom community or suburb. It seems like the one thing Spartanburg really has going for it, esp. compared to Greenville, is it's school system. I've been told that BMW's main criteria along those lines was to look for a system with a good Orchestra program, the thinking being that any district with a good orchestra program would necessarily have all the basics covered.

Compared to Greenville? What are you basing this on? Spartanburg has great schools, but I'd say they aren't much, if at all ahead of Greenville's... Your phrasing makes it seem to be lightyears ahead of GCS.

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Compared to Greenville? What are you basing this on? Spartanburg has great schools, but I'd say they aren't much, if at all ahead of Greenville's... Your phrasing makes it seem to be lightyears ahead of GCS.

No not far ahead, but maybe somewhat ahead. Many would argue that our multiple district setup is more effective than Greenville's county-wide district.

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So I was looking at the SC Retention Survey Results [pdf] and I came across some of their info on Spartanburg. This study was to determine where people wanted to go after college (not where they actually went). Now, Spartanburg does not rank very high on that list, though it is on there. Thats not surprising. Spartanburg is not a hotspot for prefessional jobs at this point in time (hopefully that will change over time).

What struck me is this list of words used to describe Spartanburg. keep in mind that this is not necessarily representative of the State as a whole, but it does represent college students. This is in order of rank on slide 28:

small

boring

nice

good

home

close

country

growing

dirty

big

familiar

industrial/industry

families

little

busy

crime

airport

school

dull

So what do you think of this list? What are its implications for the City?

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I hate that so many labeled the city as "boring" but honestly it's not surprising. The size to amenity ratio is pretty small in cities like Spartanburg, and most young people want a city with lots of amenities which will typically be your large midsized to large cities.

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So I was looking at the SC Retention Survey Results [pdf] and I came across some of their info on Spartanburg. This study was to determine where people wanted to go after college (not where they actually went). Now, Spartanburg does not rank very high on that list, though it is on there. Thats not surprising. Spartanburg is not a hotspot for prefessional jobs at this point in time (hopefully that will change over time).

What struck me is this list of words used to describe Spartanburg. keep in mind that this is not necessarily representative of the State as a whole, but it does represent college students. This is in order of rank on slide 28:

small

boring

nice

good

home

close

country

growing

dirty

big

familiar

industrial/industry

families

little

busy

crime

airport

school

dull

So what do you think of this list? What are its implications for the City?

The good news is that only two of the top ten descriptors are negative - boring and dirty.

There is no question that Spartanburg has a long way to go to improve it's overall image. However, the fact that Spartanburg has six colleges and universities each with healthy enrollments attests that its doing something right. I think the College Town marketing initiative has helped overcome some of the initial image problems.

Many of my Wofford classmates think fondly of Spartanburg and their experiences here. Our homecomings are always well attended. Wofford, as well as Spartanburg's other colleges, attracts students from all over the United States and the world. While I don't dismiss the comments I'm not going to lose any sleep over them either.

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