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Are the Upstate's Cities Dying?

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Are the Upstate's cities dying? With the massive population increase going on, why are all cities not aggressively annexing? I know that it can be difficult to annex in SC, but you'd think they would want to do something about it. Spartanburg used to be closing in on 50k, and at the time it would have been tied with Greenville. This whole thing irritates and annoys me.

Greenville: 55,926 (2003) | 56,115 (2002) | 56,395 (2001) | 56,002 (2000)

Spartanburg: 38,718 (2003) | 39,113 (2002) | 39,346 (2001) | 39,673 (2000)

Anderson: 25,563 (2003) | 25,752 (2002) | 25,711 (2001) | 25,514 (2000)

On the other hand, smaller cities/towns like Greer, Laurens, Duncan/Lyman/Wellford, Easley, Fountain Inn, Mauldin, and Greenwood are all adding people.

I think the cities need to take Greer's example and adopt an aggressive annexation policy. I know that Spartanburg has plans to annex alot, but I doubt if it will all be successful. This is the image that was in the paper about two years ago identifying ares that woul be good to annex. The bright purple and the orange areas have been annexed, the rest has not as of yet.

annex.jpg

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That is right Greer Annex alot of property. Here is how they do it. Greer CPW is a top notch Public Works providers and they will add service to just about any one given they are willing to be annexed into the city of Greer. This means that large developements on the out skirts of the City and even farther away are willingly being annexed so that they can get sewer and go ahead with their developments. For example the North Hampton Market on HWY 29 it is really in Taylors and Greer annexed it. For that reason Taylors is considering incorporating. Also at Lake Robinson which is a good 15 miles or more from Greer was annexed in to the City so that a developer can create the Blue Ridge Plantation, a 1,100 home subdivision.

Also Greer does through zoning, Greer sometimes will grant zoning requests that the county will not.

As for Spartanburg, the County in General, Zoning is Taboo, the people that live in Spartanburg are all super pro property owners rights and therefor anti zoning becuase it limits what one can do with their own Property. Therfor parts of Greer in Spartanbnurgh county may get annexed just to get any zoning at all.

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Are the Upstate's cities dying? With the massive population increase going on, why are all cities not aggressively annexing? I know that it can be difficult to annex in SC, but you'd think they would want to do something about it. Spartanburg used to be closing in on 50k, and at the time it would have been tied with Greenville. This whole thing irritates and annoys me.

Greenville: 55,926 (2003) | 56,115 (2002) | 56,395 (2001) | 56,002 (2000)

Spartanburg: 38,718 (2003) | 39,113 (2002) | 39,346 (2001) | 39,673 (2000)

Anderson: 25,563 (2003) | 25,752 (2002) | 25,711 (2001) | 25,514 (2000)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

If the cities listed are dying, they have been dying for several decades, as those numbers haven't grown in decades. There are many other cities you could add to the list as well.

I think that Greenville has made a conscious decision to accept that it's limits will not move significantly. Instead they are seeking to improve the areas that are already inside the city. For example, downtown and the Haynie-Sirrine areas that are being revitialized. Only commercial properties have been annexed to Greenville for the last 30-40 years. Commercial properties pay more taxes, and thus provide a positive cash flow to the city.

Strictly residential areas usually don't give a city a positive net cash flow. By the time the city pays for extending water, sewer, garbage service and adding police and fire coverage, the city ends up losing money. Greer was very aggressive with annexation with their last mayor, but they have slowed down under the new mayor. All of the annexations had led to a tax increase and I believe an increase in water/sewer rates as well.

The situation that Brad Toy described is my understanding as well. I don't believe Greenville and Spartanburg are in the same boat in terms of extending services. I believe water and sewer is already available in the areas immediate to their respective limits.

While Charleston and North Charleston have always been aggressive in annexation, they both received a big boast in their efforts when the local option sales tax was approved in Charleston County in 1991. The revenue from the sales tax is divided among the county and municipalities to give a credit against property taxes. The PSDs (Public Service Districts) do NOT share in that money. The PSDs provide the water, sewer, fire protection etc. in the areas immediately outside the city limits of those cities.

The reduction in property taxes allowed the municpalities to basically match the tax rates of the PSDs. This gave many suburbanites the incentive to annex since the level of services is better in the cities, and the cost difference is now gone.

Columbia (Richland County) recently passed the sales tax and hired an annexation coordinator, so I look for Columbia to start annexing more outlying areas. Sumter and Florence also have seen more annexations since adopting the sales tax.

Until and unless the sales tax is approved in either Greenville or Spartanburg, I wouldn't expect to see their limits to move significantly. Spartanburg use to be the 4th largest SC city, but after the next census, it will probably barely make the top 10.

Aiken has had some success in paying outside residents to annex. Undoubtedly, that would have to be a long-term investment for them.

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Wow! That's shocking. I never thought Spartanburg would be losing residents. One thing I've noted within the last year is how the long-term future of the Spartanburg CBD should be close to, if not as strong as anywhere else in the state. My reasoning was related to the tremendous vision to keep the downtown architecturally pleasing. I don't know whether the city counsel has any special building exterior regulations or not, but it seems that every new project down there keeps to a high quality classic look. This, along with the other beautiful additions and renovations being done there, should make Spartanburg a place many people would want to live.

I once read of a large Center for the Arts that would be built there. Is that still a go?

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I agree that when you look at the census reports, there is obviously something driving people away from our cities. My knowledge of the incredibly numerous new residential neighborhoods being built all around Greenville makes me think that we shouldn't have any problems in the future. People are constatly moving here from all over the country, many because of jobs, others because of family. From all of my conversations with new residents, I can truthfully say that they all LOVE this area.

Greenville has the right idea. With all of the high-quality life that has been reborn downtown, it only makes sense to capitalize on the fact that there are many people who want to make this their home. Of course this will only make it even stronger! :D

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Wow! That's shocking.  I never thought Spartanburg would be losing residents.  One thing I've noted within the last year is how the long-term future of the Spartanburg CBD should be close to, if not as strong as anywhere else in the state.  My reasoning was related to the tremendous vision to keep the downtown architecturally pleasing.  I don't know whether the city counsel has any special building exterior regulations or not, but it seems that every new project down there keeps to a high quality classic look.  This, along with the other beautiful additions and renovations being done there, should make Spartanburg a place many people would want to live.

I once read of a large Center for the Arts that would be built there.  Is that still a go?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

They are still planning the Arts Center in the Renaissance Park. The probelm there is that Aurthur Cleveland is the brains behind the operation, and he has a big problem wiht paying is bills. Renaissance Park has alot of potential, as it is a very large, undeveloped section within the CBD. I don't think there is a code defined for downtown, but the encourage landscaping and good architecture. The Marriot, ESA, and QS/1 are good examples of that. Spartanburg has removed an apartment complex, and some housing downtown, so I expext to see the near term numbers drop, but with the new apartements going up around the city, and the revitalization of innercity neighborhoods, I see no reason why the numbers won't jump by the next Census. That goes for Greenville too.

I suppose that ANderson and PSartanburg need to look to Greenville, and focus on encourangin dense growth (not necesarily highrises), and the revitalization fo the older neighborhoods of which Spartanburg has plenty.

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Well I for one would not be a bit surprised to see plans for new highrise developments begin showing up in Spartanburg in the near future. They've really turned much of their focus toward the development of the downtown lifestyle. Usually you'll see something happen in G-ville, and then shortly thereafter you'll see something similar happen in Spbg. The city may not have as many people residing in it now, but nobody can deny the growth taking place all around it (just like G-ville). ^_^

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I agree that when you look at the census reports, there is obviously something driving people away from our cities.  My knowledge of the incredibly numerous new residential neighborhoods being built all around Greenville makes me think that we shouldn't have any problems in the future.  People are constatly moving here from all over the country, many because of jobs, others because of family.  From all of my conversations with new residents, I can truthfully say that they all LOVE this area.

Greenville has the right idea.  With all of the high-quality life that has been reborn downtown, it only makes sense to capitalize on the fact that there are many people who want to make this their home.  Of course this will only make it even stronger! :D

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I would hardly ask if Greenville is dying. Because of the annexation laws, the actual limits of Greenville have been and always will be small. They've always hovered around 55k . Greenville understands that and seems to be taking the "quality over quantity" approach.

Like Skyliner states above, people moving here absolutely love the place! Many articles over the past few years show a national trend of people moving to mid size cities because the quality of life many times far exceeds the larger cities. Hot & happening midsize cities like: Huntsville, AL / Burlington, VT / Boulder, CO / Portland, ME / Boise, ID / Charlottesville, VA / etc are winning all the accolades lately! The Greenville area as a whole (upstate as a whole) is booming! I for one like the Greenville approach...let the metro area boom, take in the take dollars for retail, and continue to build quality over quantity (like the designated bike lanes just added to many downtown streets....nice quality touch GV....congrats!)

Dying? No. Booming? Yes

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Well I for one would not be a bit surprised to see plans for new highrise developments begin showing up in Spartanburg in the near future.  They've really turned much of their focus toward the development of the downtown lifestyle.  Usually you'll see something happen in G-ville, and then shortly thereafter you'll see something similar happen in Spbg.  The city may not have as many people residing in it now, but nobody can deny the growth taking place all around it (just like G-ville).  ^_^

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True. I wouldn't be suprised to see some development either. Demand exists for living downtown. I suspect that it will be along the lines of residential or retail as opposed to a coporate development. I would like to see Spartanbrug take the initiative to build a small business-oriented tower like the one they are proposing in Greenville. WHat I woudl really like to see is all of the lawyers down by the courthouses ban together and build something nice an tall, and they all move in it, then get rid of those horrid things they work in now. That probably dreaming though.

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Like Skyliner states above, people moving here absolutely love the place! 

Dying?  No.  Booming? Yes

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I am one of the people who just moved here because I really love the area (the proximity to the mountains is a big part of that). Greenville has a small town feel but has a lot of the cultural amenities of a much larger city. For the past 12 years we have lived in Atlanta and Memphis, and though I like both of those places, I think Greenville is a much better place to live and raise kids. Asheville and Chatanooga were the other two southeastern cities on my shortlist of places to move, but after 6 months here, I am glad that Greenville was the one that worked out.

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I came across some old census data I thought I would share. These are SC counties:

1940 1950 1960 1970 1980

Anderson 88,712 90,664 98,478 105,474 133,235

Greenville 136,580 168,152 209,776 240,774 287,913

Pickens 36,111 40,058 46,030 58,956 79,292

Spartanburg 127,733 150,349 156,830 173,724 201,553

Laurens 44,185 46,974 47,609 49,713 52,214

Charleston 121,105 164,856 216,382 247,650 277,308

Richland 104,843 142,565 200,102 233,868 267,823

Lexington 35,994 44,279 60,726 89,012 140,353

Horry (MBeach) 51,951 59,820 68,247 69,992 101,419

Beaufort (HHI) 22,037 26,993 44,187 51,136 65,364

I have all 46 counties, but too lazy to list them all. Let me know if you want others.

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As mentioned above the metros are growing but if the core is not, then you have the classic recipe for urban sprawl.  I get the visions of endless cul-de-sac development where traffic is funned onto multilaned highways with Super-Walmarts, Home Depots and other chains exist.  And as this progresses you also end up with empty big boxes.    I hope this isn't the case there, but my guess is that it probably is.

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You hit the nail on the head! I understand that companies want to move to the areas of newest residential growth (here that is EVERYWHERE), however, just as monsoon stated, until the growth cycles back to a redevelopment of these once-hot locations, we are forced to pass the many vacant properties with disappointment and fond shopping memories. Here, the best example is the Laurens Road area. If it wasn't for the numerous auto dealerships lining the west side of the road, people visiting this area would begin to wonder about the vitality in Greenville. The important thing we who live here know is that the International Center for Automotive Research will definitely have a positive impact on the road in the future.

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That article is a few years old, and some of it is now inaccurate. Downtown is coming along, and many restaruants have opened up since it was written, as well as two new office buildings, and the Marriot. Margan Square is going to be redesigned for less cars soon, and with that is the removal of the Broad St connector which will be replaced by an office building of some sort. Also Broad St will be made more pedestrain friendly by offering more parking, and removing is as a thouroughfare.

That article did make several good points that I had thought about before, but it worded it very well. The new buildings that go up are built for suburbia. We continue to repeate the mistakes of the past. The Library is nice, but its built to the parking lot, not the street. So is the Marriot. All of this grasssy space. Downtowns should be built like downtown- urban, not gardens and greenery. It uses the BB&T tower as a goood example of good urban development, and I agree.

It is definately a good read if you are interested in Spartanburg's development. You should highlight the whole thing so that is is black on grey, instead of white on black, makes it less of a strain to the eyes :)

Thanks for finding that article!

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That article in today's Greenville News about the expansive new development in the West End is very promising info, telling me Greenville is definitely not about to die any time soon. :D

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Here is an article from this mournings Greeenville News about Future Annexation in Greer.

More Greer annexations, municipal center likely in 2005

Posted Monday, January 3, 2005 - 3:06 am

By Nan Lundeen

STAFF WRITER

[email protected]

GREER

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That article in today's Greenville News about the expansive new development in the West End is very promising info, telling me Greenville is definitely not about to die any time soon. :D

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Here is that article.

Crowds discovering West End

Posted Sunday, January 2, 2005 - 1:38 am

By Anna B. Brutzman

STAFF WRITER

[email protected]

Greenville's West End continues to grow with new restaurants like Smoke on the Water. (Ken Osburn/Staff)

The West End will have a different look in 2005, as the area continues to add entertainment options and business opportunities to downtown Greenville.

The success of civic projects and addition of small retailers in the West End have caught the attention of major developers. Four large-scale projects were announced in 2004, some of which are scheduled for completion over the next six to 18 months.

For residents like Carolyn Simpkins, a growing West End means a livelier downtown with more things to do. Simpkins said she has noticed more traffic and more filled parking spaces. She recalled a time when pedestrians seemed to go no farther than the Reedy River bridge.

"Just recently, I am seeing people walk past the Peace Center," she said.

In addition to downtown's vitality, the city's tax base can use a boost, according to Nancy Whitworth, economic development director. That's why city leaders have committed millions of dollars in public-private partnerships to extend downtown westward.

Columbia restaurateur Chuck Watson said the once-beleaguered downtown business district that begins on South Main Street at the Reedy River and extends to Academy Street has reached a "critical mass."

"It seemed like the last time I went to the West End, it had just changed," Watson said. "It had arrived."

Looking for a "laid-back, off-beat" locale, Watson plans to open a Mellow Mushroom pizza franchise in April at the city-owned West End Market where two establishments had operated in recent years: Coliseum Ristorante and Occasionally Blues.

Watson's optimism about the site stems from the city's ongoing beautification of South Main Street and the collection of arts organizations, shops and galleries in the area.

Mayor Knox White attributes much of the success to city projects like the West End Market, street improvements and the $13.4 million revitalization of Falls Park on the Reedy River with its new pedestrian bridge over the river.

"Falls Park has supercharged the West End, as it was expected to do," White said.

The city also has taken an active hand, partnering with developers on all four of the West End's major projects announced this year, Greenville's economic development director Nancy Whitworth said.

They are:

The city's contribution of roughly $11.5 million for a 550-space parking garage, riverside walk, interactive fountain and stairwell to Main Street at RiverPlace, a $55 million residential and commercial development on the Reedy River.

The garage will be finished in spring 2005, and the fountain could be completed in 2006, developers and city officials said. Two condominium complexes and an office building on Main Street will be finished in 2005, and a 115-room Hampton Inn and Suites will be finished in the spring or summer of 2006.

The sale of about seven acres of public land for another residential-commercial development called Pendleton West at the sites of the old Greenville General Hospital and the Relax Inn. The developer, Jeff Randolph, said he paid about $470,000 and had to get approval from city officials for his project.

The city's commitment of roughly $250,000 to create green space on public land linking a 12-story, 71-unit condominium complex called The Camperdown to Linky Stone Park.

The construction of a baseball stadium on $7 million of city-owned land that also would incorporate residential and commercial development.

Greenville is working with a minor league team. Two other groups also are working to baseball to other sites in the Greenville area. Only one can play here, so this project hinges on a decision from Minor League Baseball.

Alan Ethridge, who works in the West End as director of marketing and development for the Metropolitan Arts Council, said he has seen a major turnaround in the last couple of years, sparked, he thinks, by the construction of the Peace Center in 1990.

"Some of the best restaurants in town are right here," he said, adding that along with the playhouses and galleries, the West End needs an art cinema.

Besides these developments, smaller businesses like Watson's are keeping a steady pace into the area.

On Augusta Street, a ladies and children's apparel shop featuring Lilly Pulitzer and Lacoste designs will open in early February, according to owner Joanna Sherman.

Sherman, whose business is currently at McDaniel Village in the Augusta Road shopping district, said she hopes a downtown location will draw clients from all over Greenville and beyond.

"There's huge tourism in the downtown area that we don't see much of," she said.

Caroline Finch , who manages the high-end casual women's clothing shop Augusta 20, said small retail and service businesses, like The West End Spa, work together and feed off each other

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