Simple Civics: Greenville County

Bright and early this morning, Mark Steenback of Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County and I joined Nathaniel and Katy to record an episode of the Simple Civics: Greenville County podcast. We talked about mutually beneficial partnerships between local governments and non-profits. We’re better together! Through collaboration, we create positive change that supports the social and economic well-being of our community. This is exactly the kind of partnership I was talking about when I campaigned for #OneSimpsonville back in 2015. Now that vision is reality as evidenced by our partnership with Habitat. And we really are better together. Stay tuned for details on when our episode goes live!

Working together for Alder Park

We’re better together! And everyone has been working together to increase community pride and engagement at Alder Park. We heard you when you said you had safety concerns about the park. We listened when you said you wanted it to be a place you could enjoy with your family. We ask for your feedback at public meetings, and you shared it. We used that feedback to advocate for changes. And together, residents, SPD, Public Works, all of us, have worked to make the park that place where families of all kinds can enjoy the amenities of the park. And as many of us have discussed, the more we use our park, the better! The walking trail, which I’ve already seen so many people enjoying, is just the latest update at Alder Park. Please join us at Saturday at 3 to check it out and celebrate these changes we’ve made together.

Habitat Women Build 2021

What a great morning with some great women. Thanks to these ladies who joined my #WomenBuild team as we worked to put some finishing touches on the inside of Lorraine’s home (Lorraine is in the blue sweatshirt). The Women Build house is the third home in the new Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County Woodside Park neighborhood. We’ll dedicate the first completed home on December 19. Eventually there will be 13 homes. 13 families like Lorraine’s. I’m proud of the work we did on Council to bring this project to fruition. And I’m proud of the work we did today! This kind of work creates stronger, more stable families and communities. And when our families thrive, our city thrives.

Women Build Team: Lisa Everidge, Special Events Coordinator for the City of Simpsonville; Janice Curtis, former mayor and small business owner; Rhonda Mauldin, Manager for the West Georgia Rd. Food Lion; Monica Culbreath, Housing Specialist for GCRA; Dana Garrett, US Army Veteran, mother, Simpsonville resident. We’re better together! ๐Ÿ’ช

Neely Ferry Development Update

More good coverage from Post and Courier Greenville: https://bit.ly/3oW7K92. I think Conor Hughes must not sleep!

From the article:

โžก๏ธ “Councilwoman Jenn Hulehan, who represents the ward where the new development would be built, said she agreed a 55-plus community would be a good fit for the property. “While we’re looking at 42 units, we’re only looking at potentially generating the [peak time] traffic of something like 14 regular, single-family home units,” she said.”

โžก๏ธ “The request considered Dec. 14 was for innovative development zoning, which would give the city much more control and oversight throughout the process. Zenith also tweaked its plans in light of concerns members of council voiced in September, adding features such as rear entry garages on every unit. The approval also came with the condition that sidewalks inside the development be extended about 500 feet north along Neely Ferry to connect with the crosswalk in front of Plain Elementary.”

๐Ÿ“ Some notes from me:

๐Ÿšถโ€โ™€๏ธThat sidewalk to the cross walk is important. It will help connect that neighborhood not just to the cross walk/school but to Westwood, to Food Lion (and everything in the shopping center), CVS, and even all the way to downtown (I have a senior neighbor who actually walks downtown every day).

๐Ÿก As a Council, we have a responsibility to ensure housing that meets population trends in our city. Boomers are aging. And as they are, they are seeking homes that support their active lifestyles and require less maintenance. In this community, they have access to amenities to support that lifestyle and maintenance is provided via an HOA. We must create a Simpsonville that people can call “simply home” at every phase of life.

๐Ÿš— During peak hours, yes, traffic to and from the school is difficult. You have a lot of people trying to get to one place and a lot of people trying to leave one place all at the same time. However, during non-peak times, Neely Ferry can handle the additional 14 homes’ worth of traffic. National traffic studies on senior housing back that up: they generate on average about 1/4 of the traffic of a traditional single-family home. My own experience, which I shared with my colleagues last night, also backs that up. I’ve sat out there with the crossing guard and observed school time traffic. I also walk that way with Oakley every day. Just yesterday, around 3:30, we walked that road from Plain to Capewood, and in about ten minutes, 16 cars passed us. Eight going towards Capewood and eight towards West Georgia. That’s comparable to other non-peak times we’ve walked it and counted.

โ“At the end of the day, the Anders family is selling that property; something will go there. The question for Council is what can go there that will be an asset to the city and not create an additional burden on our city resources. I think this plan is the answer. The developer worked hard to address the concerns we originally shared. A public meeting was held at First Baptist Simpsonville for people to share their thoughts on the project. Owners of neighboring properties were notified and asked to share their thoughts. The Innovative Development zoning allows the city to have much more control over what goes there. This project is the result, and itโ€™s a good one.

๐Ÿค Itโ€™s also another good example of what happens when we all (Council, Planning Commissioners, property owners, developers, citizens) work together as a team with the cityโ€™s best interests at heart. Municipal government is a team sport. Weโ€™re better together.

๐Ÿ“ For more notes on green space and amenities like pocket parts, the rubberized walking trail, home elevations and access points, see the list in my previous post: https://bit.ly/3ywz9S7

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

Veterans Day 2021

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฒ Today we honored our veterans at the Veterans Day Ceremony 2021. The Quilts of Valor presentation is always one of my favorites every year. It’s hard not get teary-eyed thinking about the sacrifices made on our behalf by those brave enough to answer the call to serve our county. God bless them and God bless the United States of America. ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฒ

Westwood Mini National Night Out

We’re better together! Team effort last night to pull off an amazing event for our local community. Turnout was better than we expected, and we’re excited about the opportunity to make this an annual event at Alder Park! Thanks to everyone who worked on this event: SPD, SFD, Parks & Rec, Public Works, and my Council partner, Councilman Lou Hutchings! Also many thanks to our sponsors, including our local Food Lion, Burger King, Simpsonville Family Dentistry , and Realtor Jordan Johnson. It was great to see everyone and to serve our community together. #SimplyPublicService #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.

SPD & Westwood Public Safety Meeting

Tonight our neighborhood had a community public safety meeting with the Simpsonville Police Department. I am so grateful for and proud of our PD. Lots of people talk about community policing. They live it. I watched them in action tonight with members of our community. In lots of other places, tensions between police and citizens may be high. In some places a meeting like we had tonight would have tempers flaring, angry yelling, even name-calling or accusations. Not here. Here, I hear residents and officers alike talk about partnership, being like a family, working together. I hear them laughing at the same jokes, sharing stories about their families, asking and answering questions respectfully, listening for understanding, learning from one another.

That’s one of the many things that makes Simpsonville #SimplyHome. Big shout out to Chief Hanshaw, Investigator Donnelly, Sgt. Chandler, and Officer Stouffer for joining us tonight. ๐Ÿ’œ

“The one thing I can guarantee you about crime is if you don’t report it, we can’t investigate it.” –Sgt. Justin Chandler, SPD, encouraging residents to say something if they see something. “Call us.”

Habitat Volunteer and Donor Appreciation Event

It’s always a privilege to spend time with Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County, and it’s definitely an honor to join Isaiah Davis from Grainger in accepting the award on behalf of Women Build this year. Thanks to my amazing Women Build team and all the other Women Build supporters. I invited Mayor Shewmaker to join us for the Donor and Volunteer Appreciation event, and I am so pleased he did. He said he was inspired by the stories he heard about homeowners and volunteers. Habitat built 14 houses and completed 32 home preservation projects in 2019, and they’ve got bigger plans for this year. Mayor Shewmaker plans to support Simpsonville’s relationship with Habitat, and he’s even interested in volunteering! We’re hoping to break ground on the Woodside Habitat community here in Simpsonville this year, so it’s great to have our new mayor involved. Next Women Build will be in Simpsonville, so if you’re interested in helping women be #SimplyEmpowered through homeownership, let me know!