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!

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

Check out this article in the Post & Courier about our planned purchase of a new fire truck.

“Councilwoman Jenn Hulehan said during the Oct. 26 meeting she appreciated that city staff was being proactive about keeping its equipment up to date and in good condition.”

“I’m pleased to get this kind of information in advance, because that hasn’t always been the case since I’ve been on council, and it’s exactly why we put the capital reserve account in place,” she said. “We need to be able to very quickly address situations like this instead of wrapping things up in duct tape and hoping for the best.”

I’m not exaggerating when I say that about duct tape and hope. When I came into office, I discovered that’s exactly what our Council had the city doing. Our poor public works trucks were literally being held together with duct tape and even that was no longer holding up. There was no long-term planning happening. No plan for when the duct tape failed. No capital reserve fund or capital plan! We’ve made significant progress since then, which is why we are able to make financially prudent decisions like this one when they not only need to be made but can save us money–your taxpayer money.

Arts Center Progress

We’re making progress on the Arts Center too! As a reminder, a lease agreement with Mill Town Players has been approved and we plan to have a full season of shows next year! In the meantime, the contractor has until October 27 to complete the renovation project. In addition the City has been working with Duke Energy to get a pad-mounted transformer installed to get underground power to the rear of the building to clean up
the power lines. Interior walls are being installed to create a new lobby area and separation from the auditorium. Interior finishes will be coming soon! #PromisesMade #PromisesKept

SimplyHistoric #SimplyConnected #SimplyHome

SimplyHistoric #SimplyConnected #SimplyHome Simpsonville: it’s who we are. There are plenty of historical plaques like this throughout the city. We also work to honor our history through projects like the Arts Center at the historic Simpsonville Elementary school. We’re staying connected too. The best piece of the trail will connect down to Heritage Park. We have events like the recent Westwood Public Safety Meeting or National Night Out to connect with residents. Councilmembers have also held meetings with residents on development concerns, traffic concerns, small business concerns…or just to have coffee and chat. They’re not just words. It’s who we are. Who we strive to be every day. #PromisesMadePromisesKept

First Woodside Habitat House

Today we raised the wall for the first home in the new Woodside Mills Habitat for Humanity neighborhood! It’s so wonderful to see this project come to fruition. Not long after I was elected, I met Monroe Free to talk about rebuilding the relationship between Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County and the City of Simpsonville. Along with Councilmen Gooch and Cummings and Mayor Curtis, I fought hard to reestablish that broken partnership and to set the groundwork for this project to bring affordable housing to Simpsonville. We successfully worked with Habitat on 4 homes in the Boyd-Morton neighborhood while we worked out the details for this new neighborhood in Woodside Mills. Today we raised the walls for one of thirteen homes to be completed by Spring of next year. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to play a small part in bringing this project to Ward 3 in Simpsonville, so families like Ashley and her sons can have a safe and secure place to call #SimplyHome. That’s not just good for individual families like hers; it’s good for our city as a whole.
📸: Justin Lee Campbell, Discover Simpsonville

Read last posts on this topic here.

Vision + Teamwork = We Can

Back when I (and others) originally started talking about a vision for the future of Simpsonville, there were those who said “you can’t” to every idea. When they said, “where will you get the money from,” we talked about things like grant funding. I repeatedly said that you have to have the vision first. From there, you work to find the funding. Since then, we have secured grant funding for many of our projects–from the Arts Center to the trail project. It turns out, when you have the vision and a team of people who believe in it, you can.

Speaking of grant funding, a grant of $350,000 has been awarded to the City by the SC Department on Aging for improvements to our Senior Center. These funds will be combined with our Community Development Block Grant funding in the amount of $300,000 in order to complete kitchen and community room renovations, and expansion of outdoor space off of the community room to allow for additional senior activities, including congregate dining. The design is underway, and construction is expected to begin in November, with completion in April of 2022. This space will be available for use by the general public when not being used for senior activities.

Public Works update

Significant planning has been put into the City resuming garbage pickup in September at the end of the contract term with Ace/Meridian. All garbage trucks have been delivered and striped. Garbage containers have been ordered, and will be delivered City-wide the week of August 23rd. We have decided to purchase a container for each pickup location so that everyone will have a new City container to avoid confusion.

Information about the pickup schedule, elimination of single stream curbside recycling, holiday schedule, etc. will be attached to each container that is delivered.

A Superintendent for Sanitation has been hired to begin working on the transition. Three drivers have been hired, leaving only one opening for a driver remaining. Because we have a full-time superintendent on staff now, please refer any concerns about missed pickups or sanitation service in general to public works at 967-9531.

Phase 2 Compensation Plan

The other night at our Westwood Neighborhood public safety meeting, someone asked what the city is doing to support our police officers. Then Facebook showed me this memory for #ThrowbackThursday. I’m excited that in this year’s budget we approved Phase 2! Phase 2 will be getting all employees step increases to compensate for tenure in the new classification. The phased approach to appropriately compensating our first responders and all city employees was fiscally responsible. And I’m #SimplyProud of our staff and Council for making it happen!

For more details, here’s the link to the original post on the #Jenn4Ward3 blog: