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Spartanburg's Leaders

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Spartanburg has been making some great strides over the last few years but I'm wondering if the current leadership is up to the task of taking the community to the next level. By current leadership I'm talking about the mayor, city council, city manager, and county council. By the next level I'm talking about doing the things necessary so that people outside the community really begin to take notice.

For years I thought Spartanburg was hampered by a lack of visionary leadership. I don't think that's the case today. By in large, I feel our leaders have a progressive vision for the community. However, can they take us to that next level? I welcome your candid thoughts.

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Mayor Barnet has been a great leader since he took office. I think that he is capable of keeping progress happening in Spartanburg. I do, however, question whether or not City Council is capable of doing what needs to be done. By that I mean keep progressive ideas flowing and implementing them in such a way that it will help revitalize the rest of the city.

The biggest thing that is holding Spartanburg back, IMO, is no longer downtown. That has some steady, albeit slow, momentum. Downtown is about where Greenville was about 10 or 12 years ago. It will take time, but slowly people are starting to take notice and as the economy picks back up, Spartanburg's downtown will benefit.

Anyway, the biggest problem to me is the neighborhoods around downtown. Right now, they are mostly rundown (especially north and northwest neighborhoods like Cleveland Park), and NOBODY is working to fix them up except for the good people over at the Preservation Trust of Spartanburg. They have targeted Hampton Heights, which is coming back nicely, and they have stated that their next effort will be Beaumont. But where is City Council in all of this? They have spent some money in the Thompson Street area to tear out the old rundown houses there, and supposedly have built some new, nicer houses back (like Habitat for Humanity type). I have not been by to check, but its supposedly an improvement. They have also made progress in redoing the section 8 housing, replacing it with Hope IV. But those are public housing that they are obligated to fix.

But what about the rest of the neighborhoods? They have a lot of decaying infrastructure that just flat out needs to be fixed. Part of the problem, of course, is that the neighborhoods are divided by the city limits, with parts of them in the city and parts of them out. The other part of the equation is the County's neglect of urban neighborhoods adjacent to the city.

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IMO the Mayor is the only one on this list that is capable and seems to have a true desire to take Spartanburg to the next level. The rest of them are are comfortable with things as they are or don't have the willingness to do anything meaningful.

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Spartan, I agree with your post. It's sad that the leadership doesn't understand the importance of the PEOPLE...quality of life...happiness...etc. as a stable foundation for our community and yes, I agree there are few leaders that see it.

Also, as you know I live in HH and totally understand the importance of the Preservation Trust...unfortunately, I think few people do around here. What a gem for our City unfortunately, over the past 6 months I've gotten the impression from many at the City that if they had their way they'd do away with our historic guidelines altogether.

It's all been rather disheartening to say the least.

Our neighborhoods are THE most important thing to this City IMO but I Spartan is about the only other person I find to agree with me on that. :(

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I think the main problem is that our neighborhoods are not well defined, and are not as well-kept as they should be. Converse Heights is the only historic neighborhood with a good identity. People love that place, and are willing to go to great ends to protect it. Hampton Heights is still viewed in a negative connotation by many, although that is changing. Duncan Park is the only other one that has a connotation, IMO, and I think that one varies greatly depending on who you talk to due to the diversity of that neighborhood.

So think about those three neighborhoods and then everything else. What identity do other neighborhoods have?

I'll give you an example. I have a friend that lives in Woodland Heights. When I asked her what neighborhood she was in, she said "I don't know." And this is from an intelligent, native Spartan.

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Spartan, I agree with your post. It's sad that the leadership doesn't understand the importance of the PEOPLE...quality of life...happiness...etc. as a stable foundation for our community and yes, I agree there are few leaders that see it.

Also, as you know I live in HH and totally understand the importance of the Preservation Trust...unfortunately, I think few people do around here. What a gem for our City unfortunately, over the past 6 months I've gotten the impression from many at the City that if they had their way they'd do away with our historic guidelines altogether.

It's all been rather disheartening to say the least.

Our neighborhoods are THE most important thing to this City IMO but I Spartan is about the only other person I find to agree with me on that. :(

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Ok the tangent conversation has been moved to the intown neighborhoods thread. I think its still important to reiterate that none of the city council seems to acknowledge that our historic neighborhoods outside of Converse Heights and Hampton Heights have very poor recognition amongst even those of us who grew up in Spartanburg.

County leaders continue to fail to recognize the urban core immediately outside of the city limits as a distinct and separate zone from the rural and urbanizing areas, so this compounds the problem that the city leaders face in revitalizing the city in general.

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Spartanburg's City Manager, Mark Scott, has resigned and will leave his position in about 90 days. This is terrible news for the city. I always thought that he did a good job as city manager. This is most unfortunate, but hopefully during these economic times there will be a good pool of replacements out there.

HJ Article

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Terrific news, Mark Scott has resigned!!! He has held up enough development in Spartanburg. Now maybe some of the developments that were given up on can get back on track when the economy improves. He was a good presenter and TV spokes person, but he was not a good fit for Spartanburg. He just could not get the job done, he was no Roy Lane. I only hope our City Council will not make another mistake in choosing the next Manager. Roy Lane was the best Manager Spartanburg ever had and will be hard to match, but we can all hope for someone of his ability.

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Interesting. In what way(s) did he hold up development?

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Did anyone see the most recent Spartanburg Journal and their editorial + an article about Spartanburg's City leadership and staff? Any thoughts on that?

I agree that the City is in an unfortunate position with so many lead staff members gone, but I was a little disappointed in the Journal's tone and its focus on what seemed to be little more than gossip and presumption

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For those of us that don't get the Journal, can you provide a general summary of what positions have been vacated and what the opinions were from the editorial?

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For those of us that don't get the Journal, can you provide a general summary of what positions have been vacated and what the opinions were from the editorial?

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I question Mark Scott's reasons for leaving for the same reason I question Mr. Rutherford's reasons for leaving his position as the County Planning Director. A common theme that I'm learning about Spartanburg is that there is usually more going on that the Herald-Journal lets on, and maybe that's what the article was getting at? I'll add that without having read the article myself its hard to say :)

Anyway, that's quite a list of key positions that are vacant. It seems like the City would want to get those jobs filled ASAP. I checked the city's job listings and none of the above positions are on there. I also checked a number of other websites that commonly see government job listings such as this, and none are listed.

The other sites include the Municipal Association of South Carolina, the American Public Works Association, the American Planning Association, the South Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association, and the South Carolina Association of Counties. No jobs were listed. I'll note that the County is on a hiring freeze so it wouldn't matter anyway. Its possible that the City is too, though you'd think that they would at least be looking around.

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There is a great editorial in the HJ today about Spartanburg County Council's lack of leadership, particularly as it relates to land use issues. Thier inaction on this matter is inexcusable. If only this infuriated more people.

HJ Editorial: Lack of Leadership

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What do y'all think of Assistant City Manager Ed Memmot's promotion to City Manager? I've always heard good things about him, so I'm optimistic about it.

HJ Article

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What do y'all think of Assistant City Manager Ed Memmot's promotion to City Manager? I've always heard good things about him, so I'm optimistic about it.

HJ Article

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I don't like it at all. His personality is of a paper bag and I find him condesCENDING

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Ed's a good guy with a lot of development experiance. I hope he will be more agressive than he has shown in the past and he can be a really good City Manager.

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Well it seems the Spartanburg Delegation, despite their best efforts, has managed to elect a leader. Lanny Littlejohn is now the chair. I'm personally indifferent about it with one exception: Lee Bright should never get into any position of power. That man is an idiot, and his ideas will ruin this county and this state.

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Mayor Barnet isn't going to run again. Any thoughts on that? I think he's been a good for the job, but I've also heard that he basically 'volunteered' for the job to get Mayor Talley out of there. Does anyone have any thoughts on who the likely candidates would be?

HJ Article

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I heard the names of a couple of possible candidates today: Linda Bilanchone and Jennifer Evins.

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Interesting. Who are they, and what makes them viable candidates?

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So she is in the Evins family. Old money talks in Spartanburg. She seems like she is well qualified though.

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