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Glendale Developments


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Back early this year or late last year Glendale had a design charrette which focused on the old mill site. The plans included the Outdoor Learning Center by Wofford as well as some quality pretty high-end yet affordable townhomes and apartments fronting Lawson Fork Creek. The Outdoor Learning Center which Wofford will build might be the first step toward implementing this plan. I've already seen a couple of classes which are being held on the rocks right in the creek. I think this could be a major park area and learning pavillion for the Spartanburg area.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Major Glendale updates. I'm going to hijack this thread for Glendale in general since all of these developments are tied together.

Last week I attended a Friends of Glendale meeting at the Glendale Outdoor Leadership School. This is a group that was formed after the charrettes last winter to continue the talks started then. Many ideas were floated, and some of them are coming to fruition. All of them show that the people of Glendale care about their community and want to see it come back. Representative Lanny Littlejohn also attended the meeting.

  • Wofford & the Mill Office

    • The owner of the Mill site, Glenn Morris of the United Kingdom, has agreed to donate 3 acres of land by the river to Wofford. It includes the Mill Office (the only original mill building left standing after the fire), the round smokestack (but not the rectangular tower), and the dam.
    • Wofford plans to fully restore the office. The architect restoring the office was apparently impressed at the great condition that the building is in. They plan to open up some office space and labs at the Mill and be fully operational in January of 2009.
    • Wofford also plans to build a small amphitheater facing the shoals. Capacity at about 100.
    • The site, along with GOLS, will allow Wofford to offer additional PE classes like kayaking, biking, etc.

    Dam, Bridge, Mill Pond restoration

    • Wofford owns the dam.
    • There is a chance the bridge may be restored to its original state. This would essentially mean the asphalt would be removed and the wooden flooring restored as well as a fresh coat of paint. The bridge is too old and too narrow for modern vehicular traffic. It would continue to act as a bike and pedestrian facility.
    • Efforts are also underway to restore part of the old mill pond between Clifton-Glendale Road, Sifell Ave, and the Mill. The trees would be removed and the silt cleaned out to restore a 4 acre pond. Sidewalks and greenspace would surround the pond. According to Lanny Littlejohn, public funding is available for this project. Currently Roger Milliken owns the land, so this is just a plan until he agrees to it.
    • As a side note, the dam actually used to be higher, with wooden planks making up the top few feet. I think the flood of 1903 washed them out, so the water level was actually several feet higher. The new pond would not be the full restoration of the original pond.
    • The dam might also be restored. If funds are available, the McLaughlin Group would design a whitewater course on the Glendale Shoals.

    Glendale Outdoor Leadership School & the Palmetto Conservation Foundation (PCF)

    • The Buildings
    • The PCF will make Glendale its main Upstate office.
    • Repairs to the Activities Building (former methodist church) are nearly complete. The original, high vaulted ceiling will be restored. Their policy is to maintain the integrity of the interior of the building. The bell in the church was donated by Mrs. Converse herself, and will hopefully be restored. Attendees of the meeting suggested that it be restored to working order- with the bell chiming on the half hour (or whatever interval)
    • The Cemetery will be improved, but its ultimately up to the congregation of the church that was merged with Ben Avon Methodist to maintain it.
    • The Parsonage will be restored as a residence for a full time PCF officer.
    • They hope to be finished with all repairs by the summer of 2009.

      The Plans
    • Glendale is to be the hub of a network of regional hiking and biking trails. Most of the flood plain along the Mill property, totaling 5 acres, was given to the PCF. They will use the land to create a 1st class greenway trail for hiking and biking. It will initially be a short loop, but there are plans to extend it to Pacolet as the first leg of the trail network.
    • A ropes course is being designed for this 5 acres.

    Residential Development

    • As many of you are probably aware, Glenn Morris was planning to convert the mill into condos. This plans have changes a little since the fire, but there are still plans to build condos on the site. The developer was supposed to come and talk, but did not show up for some reason. But it was revealed that the developer will stick to the renderings proposed by the AIA charrette last winter, and wants to work with the community to develop a quality product. Who ever it is has been involved with various projects in Greenville and has also purchased the Schuyler Building downtown- and I assume is responsible for its restoration. The development would stretch to the northeast as far as Jackson St and State St.
    • They also mentioned the idea of a small store and/or restaurant to compliment the development.

As you can see there is a lot happening in Glendale these days- even if its not visible right now. The biggest let down was that the developer didn't show. I've tried to find out who owns the Schuyler Building, but I can't find anything useful that would help my track down the developer in question.

So there is still more to learn about the residential aspect of this development, but I think we can be satisfied that Glendale is going to be a great asset to Spartanburg.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 5 months later...

Great news! "The Palmetto Conservation Foundation, Wofford College and the Spartanburg Area Conservancy will have a groundbreaking ceremony for the Glendale Greenway at 5 p.m. Monday." This greenway will be a large addition to Spartanburg's growing greenway network. The Glendale Greenway will be 10.5 miles in length along the Lawson's Fork. Like the other greenways, this one will be funded by private entities, in this case PCF, SPACE, and Wofford College. This project will also be used by the GOLS group.

Herald-Journal article

GOLS appears to be doing pretty well. I'm on their mailing list and I get noticed for events all the time. I've also heard that the bridge renovation is still going to happen, no word on when at this point.

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  • 1 year later...

I don't know if I was driving past Clifton or Converse Mill last week, but wow what potential for a condo development. The mill sits right on the river across from Pacolet Beach. There is a large waterfall from the Damm and I think it would make a great redevelopment for residentail. This one looks like a sleeper for a developer to pick up and do really well with.

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I don't think any condo project is going to get off the ground anytime soon, but if the Mill in Arcadia, beside the RR tracks and I-26 can fill up, this one could as it looks like its only 1/3 the size. Its only about 3-4 miles to Hillcrest too. It could be a good option for the Pierce Acres, Calhoun lakes type empty nesters etc.

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It probably won't. The owner of that land is some guy from the UK, and he is not very easy to get in touch with.

Any development in Glendale would/should fare better than Arcadia. Those lofts are pretty sweet from what I hear, but the location of Glendale and the shoals and the fact that it would be new development makes Glendale a better location.

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I don't know for sure, but my sense is that the Arcadia lofts are doing fairly well. I usually drive by there when I'm going to a movie on the westside, and the parking lot is usually about half full. I think the site's proximity to I-85, Business 85, I-26, and westside retail are all factors.

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  • 8 months later...

The Wofford College Center for Environmental Research was officially opened yesterday. This is a class-A facility. I was fortunate enough to have been able to tour the building itself last fall, and the restoration work is virtually flawless, not to mention that there is a lot of green technology built into it, the coolest of which, IMO, is the use of some of the old pipes to route water from the river for use inside the building.

The grounds around the area have been improved with a native-species garden that includes a small muscadine vineyard. Wofford's larger plans include installing an amphitheater for outdoor classes (and presumably small concerts), so this place is only going to get better. The PCF greenway trail past the mill ruins and long the Lawson's Fork is a beautiful walk. I can't wait until they've extended it to 10 miles (it's only about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile not). I've heard it said that Glendale is becoming the 'Central Park' of Spartanburg, and I truly believe that is happening. It seems like there are always more and more people exploring the shoals, playing in the water, kayaking/canoeing/fishing above the dam, walking on the greenway trail, painting/drawing/photographing the scenery, etc., etc.

Wofford's purchase and restoration of the old mill office has brought a lot of positive attention to Glendale. Spartanburg is fortunate to have such a treasure so close to the city.

--There is an article in the Herald Journal that probably goes into more detail. It's not loading up for me, so I'll post the link later on.

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  • 2 years later...

Big news for Glendale in the Herald-Journal this morning! The old Glendale Shoals bridge will receive a $600,000 dollar restoration!

They will rip up the asphalt road surface and replace it with oak planks, like the bridge surface originally was in 1928. They will also restore the original wood sidewalks, paint the trusses, and add lighting. Private groups will give money to landscape the areas around each end of the bridge. There are also plans for put-in and take-out spots for kayakers.

Awesome news!

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Haha. Yeah, I have no idea about the color. Black? Silver?

I was looking at glendalesc.com and found a few interesting things.

First, two new welcome signs have been erected:


Second, there is now a live webcam of the Glendale Shoals.

The website also mentions a bridge in Bowling Green that was restored in a similar fashion to what's planned for the bridge in Glendale. So I looked it up. Here's an article about that project. And here are some photos of that bridge.

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  • 3 years later...

IMO the County needs to buy the whole thing and turn it into an official public park. With relatively little effort this could be one of the best parks in the State.

More importantly, the economics just don't work out to do something high end, and something high end is what it will take to do this location justice. My fear is that we end up with some run of the mill subdivision or some lame attempt at apartments/condos. If the whole thing becomes a park, you remove that risk and help improve the surrounding land values.

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  • 3 months later...

Looks like the Glendale bridge renovations are FINALLY about to start!  Work is supposed to begin in October and will take about 2 years (!) to complete.

One thing I don't understand in the H-J article is the claim that it will be used for car traffic. There's no way.  It will have a wooden deck, will be far too narrow for 2-way (by modern standards), would be pointless as 1-way, & would be redundant.  That has to be a misinterpretation by the H-J reporter (wouldn't be the first time).  I'm thinking it will be able to support vehicles from a structural standpoint (i.e. access for an event, etc) but won't be open to everyday traffic (I hope).

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  • 2 weeks later...

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