Stay #SimplyHome This Weekend!

“In Simpsonville, South Carolina, folks have a valid reason to stay in town. What is that reason, you ask?”

In his recent article, Jamie Sanderson says it’s Warehouse at Vaughn’s . And that’s a good one, for sure! But I’d argue that’s just one of many reasons to stay #SimplyHome rather than taking your weekend spending money elsewhere! In my 2015 campaign launch speech, I told you my vision for downtown. In part, I said, I wanted it to be “a place where people say hey, it’s the weekend! Let’s go down to Simpsonville and spend the day… there’s a lot to do; it’s a great place to be.” Mission accomplished?

Read Jamie’s full article here (try not to drool on the amazing food photos! 😋): http://bit.ly/35WexJg

Highlights from the campaign speech by a younger, blonder me: https://fb.watch/bMNrbfBpCK/

SBS Scavenger Hunt Prizes

SBS Scavenger Hunt Prizes

🍕$25 gift card to Sidewall Pizza Company

🍺1885 Taproom is offering up FOUR $25 gift cards.

🍫$20 gift card to CocoBon Chocolatier.

💍Clark’s Fine Jewelers has donated a Ronaldo bracelet (valued at $225).

🏃‍♀️ Run In Simpsonville has provided a $50 gift card.

🧘‍♀️ Steppingstone Haven Yoga & Spiritual Sanctuary has donated a two-week pass plus one free reiki session.

👩‍⚕️ Horner Chiropractic has donated a free initial chiropractic visit.

💄Merle Norman has given a free deep cleaning facial, which includes a chemical peel ($150 value)

🚗 Upstate Auto Magic donated a $50 gift certificate.

📚Mathnasium Simpsonville has offered a free month of the Mathnasium program for a student 2nd-12th grade.

🍻Gift card or t-shirt to Clocktower Taproom & Billiards

🎸One Month of Lessons FREE from Musically Gifted Lesson and Recording Studios

🧘‍♀️Five Class Yoga Pass from Centered Yoga and Wellness

☕Starbucks Gift Card from Grace Internal Medicine

🐕‍🦺2 free days of doggie daycare from K-9 Corner

🎄A set of Christmas Vacation themed drink ware from The Tutoring Center.

🔨Nailed It DIY: Coupons for 25% off a project booking for all players and a $50 gift certificate for one lucky winner!

Meet us at the clock tower downtown Saturday, November 27th between 9 AM and 12 PM to get your playing card! You can also grab a Chick-fil-A biscuit (while supplies last) and some free swag to show your support of our small businesses!

MTP in 2022

In 2022 our Simpsonville Arts Center will be home to the Mill Town Players! For less than the cost of a matinee at the local cinema, you’ll have access to quality and affordable live theater right here in the heart of Simpsonville.

This is one of many projects we’ve undertaken to enhance quality of life for our residents. Plus, MTP has a demonstrated ability to draw visitors from across the upstate. When people visit Simpsonville for entertainment, they also dine at our local restaurants; they might shop in our stores. This is good for our local economy, and it can bring in tax dollars from others that can help further enhance the quality of life for those who live here.

The Arts Center was our vision for the future back in 2015. In 2022, it will be our reality. When I ran for office, I quoted Henry Ford on several occasions: “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” Since 2017, this Council has proven me and Henry right. I hope that over the next two years, we continue, to borrow a phrase from our City Administrator, “rowing in the same direction.” That’s how we avoid the mistakes of our predecessors and continue to promote economic opportunity; support neighborhood vitality; and commit to community and cultural programs and services while remaining fiscally responsible and providing first-rate services. It’s what Simpsonville deserves. #SimplyHome

Grand Reopening Food Lion on West Georgia

🎉What a fun way to start the morning! 🎉 I joined our local Food Lion team and other community partners like Harvest of Hope for their grand reopening. The store looks great, and the staff have worked so hard they deserve to celebrate. Our Food Lion is such a an asset to the city. They don’t just serve our shopping needs; they also give back in countless ways, such as participating in the Adopt a Highway litter pickup program; stocking the pantry of new Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County in our city; donating food five days a week to Harvest Hope Food Bank; and bringing reusable shopping bags filled with groceries to community events like the one we just hosted at Alder Park. Whenever we ask for help, our Food Lion steps up. Here’s to continued partnerships and business success! 🎉

New in Downtown

What’s new in downtown Simpsonville? Well, Sully’s Steamers should be open this January! Across the tracks, CocoBon Chocolatier and Run In will be joining Kaffeine Coffee Shop And Roastery, SmoQued BBQ, 1885 Taproom, & Sidewall Pizza Company at Burdette Central. CocoBon hopes to serving us their chocolate treats by Thanksgiving! And with all that other good food, it’s a good thing Run In plans to open the first week of October, so I can get some new shoes to walk it all off this fall! #SimplyHome

Mom & Pop Support

I wasn’t able to attend the Mom & Pop Alliance meeting the other day because of a family obligation. But Councilman Lou Hutchings and Councilwoman Sherry Roche were there to represent the city. That’s one of the great things about having a Council where we’re all “rowing in the same direction.” Sure, we disagree on some things. We don’t always vote the same way. But when it comes to the big things, like supporting our small, local businesses, we’re all on the same page and working together. That’s a big change from where we were back in 2018! I’m grateful to have them on our team. All the great work we’ve done over the last 4 years would’ve been impossible without them.

What’s with all The BoZA Meetings?

At the last Committee of the Whole meeting (9-24-19), we discussed current and upcoming items before the Board of Zoning Appeals. As we discussed, BoZA has been hearing a number of the same requests: special exceptions for construction services. As Mr. Derby explained, 3 have already been before BoZA, and a fourth is on the docket for this evening. In short, these construction companies are requesting to open offices in areas zoned Business General (or, as in tonight’s, R-OI, which is Residential–Neighborhood Office and Institution).  They’ve no onsite storage or vehicles.  In other words, as Mr. Knudsen explained when I asked the question, they’re like any other office that would be allowed in B-G.  Because their business type is “construction,” they have to request special permission via BoZA for what is an allowed exception per our Zoning Ordinance. Why is it allowed? Because it’s to establish an office like any other office.  We’re talking desks and phones and a couple of employees.  All construction-related equipment and so forth would be stored elsewhere.  Realistically, you’d never know these offices were for construction companies except for their names. The full procedure for determining whether nor not a request meets the criteria for Special Exception is located in Article 7 of the Zoning Ordinance. It’s quite detailed.

As a reminder: you can listen to that meeting and all of our Council meetings online.  In this one, you’ll hear Mr. Knudsen explain more, including why we’re receiving so many of these requests now and what we’re doing about it.

audio

Also, if you’re interested, R-OI is established to promote and accommodate residential uses, offices, and institutions in areas that are not exclusively residential or nonresidential by nature. Although nonresidential uses may be permitted, the intent of
this district is to preserve the residential character of the area through careful attention to the scale and form of development. Furthermore, it is the intent of
this district to discourage uses that generate excessive traffic or any other activity that would be largely incompatible with the residential nature of the district. The BoZA will ask questions tonight to determine whether or not this particular request fits. Some items they will consider include:

A. The volume and type of sales;
B. The size and type of items sold and the
nature of the inventory on the premises;
C. Any processing done on the premises,
including assembly, manufacturing,
warehousing, shipping, and distribution;
D. The nature and location of storage and
outdoor display of merchandise;
E. The type, size, and nature of structures;
F. The number of employees and customers
and hours of operation;
G. Traffic generation and parking turnover;
H. The amount and nature of any nuisances
generated on the premises, including but not
limited to noise, smoke, odor, glare,
vibration, radiation, and fumes; and
I. Other impacts related to health, safety, and
general welfare.

Then, they will approve or not and issue a Finding of Facts regarding their decision. Meeting is at 5:30.  The Finding of Fact Looks kind of like this one from the one we discussed at the 9-24 Meeting:

fof 1fof2

H&A Revenue is Up

One takeaway from last night’s meeting: H&A revenue is up 4.6% from last year and up 14% from the year before. Why is that important? Because H&A revenue helps ensure we keep property taxes as low as possible while still providing the services and quality of life Simpsonville residents want and deserve. This increase in revenue is evidence that the focus on economic development is another promise made and kept. More people are coming into the city and spending their money here. Our businesses are thriving and growing. And over 200 new businesses have come to Simpsonville since 2016. Remember that you can listen to the audio recording of the meeting online. And as always, remember to Vote #JennAgain on November 5 to keep Simpsonville on the right track!

Oktoberfest: A Big Success!

We had a great time at Oktoberfest last night, and the turnout was huge! We’ve worked hard since 2016 to make downtown the kind of place where people want to come and stay awhile. Why? Because, as I told you in 2015, community development IS economic development, and economic development is good for Simpsonville. Miss last night but want that Oktoberfest vibe? Check out the Simpsonville Area Chamber of Commerce Sippin In Simpsonville Oktoberfest Presented by H2E Construction on Friday, October 4th. And don’t forget to vote #JennAgain November 5th!

Cotton Mill Apartments: A Past to Remember, A Future to Build

On Wednesday, June 19th, I attended the ibbon-cutting for the Cotton Mill Apartments. I was honored to be asked to share a few words on behalf of the City of Simpsonville. Here’s (basically) what I said:

Wow! What a difference a few years makes! When Council was first presented with this project idea in September of 2017, the undeveloped portion of the Cotton Mill was a contaminated blight on our community. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much the City could do about it alone. It would take millions of dollars to remediate the site, and developers didn’t really want anything to do with that. Until Graycliff Capital came along with an “outside the box” idea. Good partnerships are based, in part, on a shared vision for the future, the ability to see, together, what is and what could be and the willingness to work together to make that happen. And that’s the kind of partnership we found with Graycliff. We shared a vision for a revitalized, rejuvenated neighborhood right here in the heart of downtown Simpsonville. Today we see that vision realized. I don’t think you can look around the Cotton Mill site now and NOT see what an asset, what a value add, this development is to our city. But what I really love about this project is the blend of history and modernity. Graycliff and Creative Builders managed to pay homage to the neighborhood’s working class roots while creating the kind of 21st century luxury living people today want. You may know that the words that adorn the City of Simpsonville seal are “A Past to Remember, A Future to Build.” This project is the embodiment of those words. Here we see the preserved offices and the iconic smoke stack and remember our past as we work together to build a better, brighter future. “A Past to Remember, a Future to Build.” The City of Simpsonville is proud of this project and grateful to the partners who helped bring our shared vision to fruition. And we’re excited about the future we’re building together.

In 2015, I promised to work towards “One Simpsonville” working together: local government, local business owners, local non-profits, and residents.  This is just one example of how that promise I made was kept. 

Some photos from the event: