Harmony Garden

Have you checked out the Simpsonville Harmony Garden lately?

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Located on Academy Street, the garden was started/founded in 2012 and sponsored by Lowe’s.  The Garden features 6600 sq. ft. of gardening area with in ground rows and raised beds.  The garden uses conventional practices of gardening with planting in the fall and spring seasons.  On site consists of a tool shed, compost bins, sprinkler irrigation, shelter, and restrooms (located inside art center).

Louise Barrett is our current Master Gardener.  She is employed with Lowe’s.  Dianne Carson, who runs the Simpsonville Farmers’ Market, was our first Master Gardener.

Some of the plants include tomatoes, peppers, squash, okra, beans, cabbage, potatoes, etc.  In the One Simpsonville spirit, the food, when harvested, is donated to a local food pantry.

The Master Gardener is assisted by volunteers (she can always use more!). The recreation maintenance staff contributes by preparing the site each season.

Harmony Garden Mission Statement:
1.  Plant vegetables and flowers.
2.  Create an attractive, beneficial, and edible garden.
3.  Teach and grow.
4.  Share our bounty with the community.
5.  Take pride in accomplishing our goal.

Thanks to Lou Hutchings for the photos!

Meeting Recap

Here’s a quick recap from last night’s meeting in case you were’t able to attend.  Also, the MP3 will be up later today, and it’s only 30 minutes long, so you may want to check it out!

Mayor Curtis issued a proclamation recognizing and honoring Daniel Madriaga.

Daniel Madriaga is the owner of Black Belt Attitude ATA Karate School.  He has 3 schools in Greenville County with 2 of them being in Simpsonville (one on NE Main Street and the other in Five Forks).  On June 29, 2016, Daniel Madriaga will be elevated to the rank of Master in the ATA Karate.  His is currently a 6th degree black belt.  He has been studying karate since he was 10 years old and became a black belt at the age of 12.  He began teaching Taekwondo at the age of 15 years old.  In 2004, he was teaching in the Miami FL area.  In 2011, he decided to open his own karate school and began looking at different places to move and open a school.  He considered GA and NC and found SC to be the best fit and opened his first school in Simpsonville, SC.  The school will celebrate 5 years on June 24-25, 2016.  Under Daniel Madriaga’s leadership, his schools are teaching Simpsonville citizens life skills such as discipline, self respect, self-defense, honesty and self esteem development.  He has saidthat “The classes are not just about kicks and punches.  It also teaches students how they should behave everywhere and helping them do better.”

Daniel Madriaga will become the 3rd karate Master in Greenville County and the 1st in Simpsonville.  This is a high honor for him, his schools and the City of Simpsonville.  His schools will have a Belt Promotion Ceremony on July 23, 2016, and the students and parents will be recognizing him for reaching such a high goal.

The Leadership Simpsonville Class of 2016 was again present at our meeting to give some additional information about their upcoming projects. Check them out on Facebook here for additional info.  Council voted unanimously to approve these projects.

Council voted unanimously to charge City Administrator David Dyrhaug with developing a strategic action plan for ongoing community and economic development.  Read more here.

Council voted 4 (Gooch, Hulehan, Cummings, Curtis)-3 (Graham, Braswell, Lockaby) to approve on 1st reading Ordinance 2016-03, which is the ordinance commonly referred to as “Council Rules.”  We’ve been working on this since the first of the year.  The next vote will take place at the August business meeting.

The Sewer Loan was moved to an upcoming meeting because it requires more analysis per City Administrator.

Council voted unanimously to appoint Mr. Jay Crawford as Public Works Director.  Mr. Crawford has been serving as Interim Director since January, and he’s been doing a great job.  We are lucky he’s willing to take on this role permanently.

Council voted unanimously to approve the appointment of Ms. Christine Furino as City Treasurer for the remainder for the current term of office (ending December 31st, 2017).  Ms. Furino recently accepted the job as Finance Director. Ms. Furino has been with the City of Simpsonville since late 2013 as the City’s Senior Accountant Supervisor.  We are grateful she is willing to serve in this additional role.


Economic Development Grants

wp-1468334661526.jpegAt the last Committee of the Whole meeting, I mentioned that the Municipal Association of South Carolina (MASC) would soon be announcing economic development grants, which is one reason I think a strategic plan for economic development is critical.

Well, just recently we received information from MASC that those grants are now available, and they’re accepting applications through September 30th.  So it’s very timely that tonight we’re voting to get started on a strategic plan for ongoing community and economic development.

Here’s some more information on the types of activities eligible for funding through the MASC grants (courtesy of the MASC website):

Professional Services
Professional services including, but not limited to, developing master plans; providing analysis or materials for marketing, branding or promoting cities and their local businesses; or engineering.

Assets including, but not limited to, publicly-owned water or sewer projects; wayfinding signage or placemaking projects.

Programs developed by a city or in partnership with others including, but not limited to, downtown development or revitalization; business incubators or small business assistance.

Here’s another key point: matching funds are required.  Until recently, we have not had any funds dedicated to economic development.  But, as you, know, recently, a group of business and community leaders changed that by donating the first funds to be devoted to economic development in Simpsonville.  We hope to grow those dollars. Doing so will set us up for future success in securing grants like this.  And make no mistake: this is only one example of funding that we could be eligible for if we have a commitment to economic development and a strategic plan in place for ongoing community and economic development.

Read previous posts on economic development here.



Press Release: Simpsonville Businesses and Citizens Present Check For Economic Development

See below for the press release regarding this morning’s presentation.

Questions? Contact Tiffany Cherry, Community Relations Specialist, City of Simpsonville at: (864) 967-9526 or tcherry@simpsonville.com


SIMPSONVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA, (June 29, 2016) – Local business owners and citizens presented a check for $1,000 to Mayor Janice Curtis and the City of Simpsonville to be contributed to an economic development line item in the City’s budget.

Rory Curtis, owner of Carolina Olive Oil, spearheaded the movement to gain support from local businesses. “ I approached several people with the idea of donating towards the City’s economic development. The response was overwhelmingly positive. We are proud to do business in Simpsonville and are eager to support economic development in our city” said Mr. Curtis.

For decades Simpsonville has been growing both commercially and residentially. However, there has never been a designated line item in the City’s budget for econmic development. “Simpsonville is one of the state’s fastest growing cities. Businesses are attracted to Simpsonville because our community ranks among the highest income and education levels in the state. Families want to live in Simpsonville because we are a safe, family-friendly community with great schools and parks. Having this newly created line item in our budget shows that Simpsonville is committed to economic development” said Mayor Curtis.

According to Mr. Curtis, the money is being donated with “no strings attached.” The goal of the donation is to continue the conversation of econmic development in Simpsonville with a focus on revitalizing the downtown area. There are several small projects that can make a big impact on Main Street, Simpsonviille. The City of Simpsonville will seek to grow the account by pursuing grants and in future budgeting efforts.

“The heart of our community is its people. The private public partnership initatied by these community leaders is unprecedent and truly represents One Simpsonville. The business community, the citizens, and the City are working together for the future of Simpsonville” said Mayor Curtis.

The City of Simpsonville would like to thank the following individuals and businesses for their contributions.

  • Roy and Francis Shelton, The Garden House
  • Caroline Richardson Mahaffey, Jeff Richardson Company
  • Candace Humphries, Palmetto Twist
  • Lou and Mary Hutchings
  • Wade Shealy, Unterhausen
  • Rory Curtis and Lee Ann Swanson, Carolina Olive Oil
  • Lewis Stewart and Lewis Stewart, Jr.
  • Perry and Donna Eichor
  • Kelly Lomas, Peacock Cottage
  • Charlotte K. Clark, Midtown Lawn Care


It’s Official!

jenn web filedIn case you missed it, yesterday I officially filed with the city as a candidate for the Ward 3 seat of the Simpsonville City Council.  It’s time to get this campaign started! Stay tuned for more news and updates.

Remember: like the campaign page on Facebook and select “get notifications” to make sure you never miss an update! And of course, keep reading this official blog!  There will be a lot happening between now and November.

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