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monsoon

I am very impressed

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As some of you might remember, I lived in Greenville for a while in the late 70s. I have not been back to the downtown area for at least 20 years. So yesterday I had a reason to meet someone there and I was completely wow'd by the transformation that has taken place. Greenville has gotten everything right in downtown redevelopment and has created a place that people want to be a part of and not just a place to visit. I barely recognized it from the run down place place of 30 years ago that was abandoned and featured places like head shops and XXX movie theaters and bums.

I like the way the park and river has been integrated into the downtown and while I knew about the suspension bridge from some engineering circles that I am involved in, I didn't not realize how nice it turned out. From what I can see, downtown Greenville should be used as a lesson for other places in the Carolinas to follow in how to build an urban environment. From a personal point of view, it's great to see especially considering how wrong they got in Charlotte where the no doubt spent a lot more money but ended up with an very inhuman place that sits mostly abandoned except during sporting events and people wanting to get drunk. (a very disappointing waste of resources in comparison)

BTW the person I was with was from Charleston and he said that it in fact reminded him of Charleston before the "ruint it". I will make a point of going back when I can spend more time.

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Well, I'm glad you had the opportunity to rediscover downtown and witness its ongoing transformation. I'm glad you had good weather on your visit, as I'm sure downtown was bustling with people enjoying the day. Definitely do come back and spend some more time! :camera:

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As I've often said in the Charlotte forum, Charlotte (and most of NC's major cities) has no idea what it's missing by not having two things: a water feature (which it can do nothing about) and a signature center city park. And to have them seamlessly interwoven into the fabric of its downtown is probably Greenville's greatest asset. If Charlotte can build a signature urban park that could be half as successful as Falls Park, it will have truly accomplished something great.

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As some of you might remember, I lived in Greenville for a while in the late 70s. I have not been back to the downtown area for at least 20 years. So yesterday I had a reason to meet someone there and I was completely wow'd by the transformation that has taken place. Greenville has gotten everything right in downtown redevelopment and has created a place that people want to be a part of and not just a place to visit. I barely recognized it from the run down place place of 30 years ago that was abandoned and featured places like head shops and XXX movie theaters and bums.

I like the way the park and river has been integrated into the downtown and while I knew about the suspension bridge from some engineering circles that I am involved in, I didn't not realize how nice it turned out. From what I can see, downtown Greenville should be used as a lesson for other places in the Carolinas to follow in how to build an urban environment. From a personal point of view, it's great to see especially considering how wrong they got in Charlotte where the no doubt spent a lot more money but ended up with an very inhuman place that sits mostly abandoned except during sporting events and people wanting to get drunk. (a very disappointing waste of resources in comparison)

BTW the person I was with was from Charleston and he said that it in fact reminded him of Charleston before the "ruint it". I will make a point of going back when I can spend more time.

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Is you're reference to Columbia aimed at directing visitors away from Greenville? Columbia? Last time I checked, downtown Columbia is not the social center of the world. Sure, Vista is a great development, but has it taken too much away from the central core?

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Is you're reference to Columbia aimed at directing visitors away from Greenville? Columbia? Last time I checked, downtown Columbia is not the social center of the world. Sure, Vista is a great development, but has it taken too much away from the central core?

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I don't think everyone is on the same page here. Maybe some clarification is needed.

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......

Simply put, Charlotte has not gotten it wrong, any city in the Carolinas would love to have the resources that are available from Tryon Street to Southend to Elizabeth to Midtown. The only thing we can not control is that we do not have water in the downtown area. We could re route the Catawaba but, that would be a waste of resources.......

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Well, in the matter of being the person who started the Charlotte forum over 5 years ago, I can tell you that I have given my reasons for that, endlessly, in that forum. If you are really interested in hearing it, and it's my observation that most Charlotteans are not, then go back and read some of my old posts. You will have your answers there. This forum is about Greenville, so if you want to comment on how Greenville might compare to Charlotte or anywhere else, I suggest that you take a trip there first to get an idea of what I am talking about.

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Charlotte has had a phenomenal decade or so in bring back it's Dt, but prior to that it made many, many mistakes. It destroyed entirely too much of it's historic buildings, created to many surface parking lots, and built the coliseum in the suburbs just to name the biggest ones. The ambience of 4th Ward was marred IMO by too many contemporary styles.

Fortunately, despite all those mistakes, it has turned things around in a really big way. That gives hope to many other cities that made some of the same mistakes.

You do make a good point about the comparison between cities. CLT should be compared to the Nashville, Orlando, Indy tier of cities.

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While it is more difficult in general to compare cities of considerably different sizes, the fundamentals of urban revitalization are universal and can be learned from a city of any size. I believe the difference that monsoon was pointing out is directly related to the percentage of leisure pedestrian activity flowing seemlessly from the sidewalks to the plazas and into the parks. The pleasant sights, sounds, and smells of a rich pedestrian environment, whether part of a smaller or a larger urban environment, are universally appealing and should be considered a worthy goal by cities who have yet to attain that quality element. I recall Greenville's vision to become such a place. There were many struggles along the way because the change was not easily accepted by many citizens during the late 1970s and 1980s. Even prior to the destruction of the Camperdown Way bridge and development of Falls Park on the Reedy and RiverPlace, some locals considered the vision of a regional showcase botanical garden, park, plazas, riverwalk, and mixed-use development along the Reedy River to be a pie-in-the-sky dream - a waste of precious money and loss of valuable parking ground. Boy, were they ever wrong!

One of the lasting benefits of the continually successful revitalization of our formerly dead downtown is that Greenville has now become a well documented target for learning by many other cities across the U.S. Various municipal delegations are regularly in town to learn from our leaders what went into the dramatic transformation.

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Indeed. And while I admit that I don't regularly visit all the major cities in the Carolinas on a yearly basis, I do get around them enough to say that I think Greenville is ahead in the pack, far ahead in this regard at this time.

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Skyliner...I agree with your post to an extent. While each city has its own set of constraints, how cities deal with the constraints often times determines how successful a city will become decades down the road. But, comparing cities is tricky. Projects that are developed in downtown Charleston are very different than what you would see in Winston. Projects in downtown Greenville are very different in scale to what you will see in Atlanta. For example, downtown Greenville has roughly 2.5m square feet of office space, that would be a building or two in Atlanta. It is much more complex financially & administratively to do such large projects in Atlanta. So, it is very hard to compare Charlotte with Greenville, as monsoon did. If monsoon wanted to say he loved the way the park created a place for people, I agree 100%. I too like how the park uses both architectural & natural elements to create a public space. But, to suggest that Charlotte in contrast is abandoned with drunks is about as bad of a statement as I have seen on this site. And, for those who have not been downtown Charlotte, it is about as far from the truth as you can get. Because this is more of a Greenville forum, I will not go into the lengthy list of developments that have occurred. But, Charlotte, like Greenville, regularly sees visitors who want to study how they city is being transformed.

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Skyliner...I agree with your post to an extent. While each city has its own set of constraints, how cities deal with the constraints often times determines how successful a city will become decades down the road. But, comparing cities is tricky. Projects that are developed in downtown Charleston are very different than what you would see in Winston. Projects in downtown Greenville are very different in scale to what you will see in Atlanta. For example, downtown Greenville has roughly 2.5m square feet of office space, that would be a building or two in Atlanta. It is much more complex financially & administratively to do such large projects in Atlanta. So, it is very hard to compare Charlotte with Greenville, as monsoon did. If monsoon wanted to say he loved the way the park created a place for people, I agree 100%. I too like how the park uses both architectural & natural elements to create a public space. But, to suggest that Charlotte in contrast is abandoned with drunks is about as bad of a statement as I have seen on this site. And, for those who have not been downtown Charlotte, it is about as far from the truth as you can get. Because this is more of a Greenville forum, I will not go into the lengthy list of developments that have occurred. But, Charlotte, like Greenville, regularly sees visitors who want to study how they city is being transformed.

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No matter the size of a city/downtown, the principles of good urban development remain the same. From that point, it comes down to context. Greenville is blessed to have a river running through downtown, and past leaders were visionary enough to see how that could become a huge focal point for downtown. Charlotte doesn't have such an advantage, but it has created something of a big-city vibe where people feel excited to go downtown and do "big city" things. What it really needs now is its version of Falls Park, a signature urban park, and hopefully plans for Third Ward Park will come to fruition sooner rather than later. Open spaces like that contribute greatly to that leisure draw that GvilleSC spoke of. From what I've seen, when there's nothing special going on in downtown Greenville, Falls Park seems to be the area where most people congregate downtown because it's just a natural magnet. That's the major difference I see between the urban cores of both cities (besides the fact that Greenville has more historic storefronts in its urban core relative to its size than Charlotte does).

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