Great Things Are Happening in Ward 3!

Great things are happening in Simpsonville!  And especially in Ward 3.

We have two new Habitat for Humanity builds on Boyd Avenue (thanks to Publix for getting the funds to get these rolling!).  Walls are up on one as of last week.  This will be the new home of the Waldrop family.


This is particularly exciting because they are the first family to be moving into a new home since Habitat kicked off the Veterans Build initiative.  Tony Waldrop served in the Marine Corps during Operation Enduring Freedom.  He and his wife Rachel are raising three great kids, and they’re both in school full time.

The second house on Boyd Avenue will become the home of Nicole Youngblood and her one-year-old son Kingston.  Construction on her home will begin in about a month.


Habitat builds generally take about 3 months, and the paperwork and details after that take another month.  So in mid-to-late summer, we’ll be welcoming two new families to Boyd Avenue. Read about our last build (for the Bouie family, also on Boyd Ave.)  and our future plans with Habitat for Humanity here.

Elsewhere in Ward 3 this summer, we should begin to actually see progress on the Woodside Mills sidewalk project.  This one has been in the works for a while (with a lot of behind-the-scenes action), and we’re finishing up the details with DHEC and the engineer.  If everything stays on track, we’ll see construction start as early as June.

Keep an eye open for all these good things going on in Ward 3 and across Simpsonville over the next several months.

PS: we got the previously discussed street signs up at the corner of Boyd and Morton!


Tornado Clean-Up Updates

UPDATE (5:48 PM):

Mr. Crawford reports that we will plan to run brush trucks to remove brush and debris generated by the storm. All next week we will primarily be running this brush removal in the areas hardest hit by the storm. We will be running our two trucks as well as the trucks provided to us by our gracious neighboring communities. After next week, any resident that still has brush generated by the storm will be able to call Public Works to request removal of their brush, and our crews will oblige.

Our city staff have been working hard all day to make sure we are able to respond effectively and efficiently to the issues our community faces as a result of the tornado. Our first responders have been working non-stop to ensure our safety. Our neighbors have been working together, helping one another, and supporting each other. Thanks to everyone for their efforts!


UPDATE (2:29 PM):

Fountain Inn (1 truck), Mauldin (1 truck), and the City of Greenville (2 trucks) are providing some brush truck assistance. We are grateful for their help. Again, these brush trucks are presently following our own crews to remove the brush and trees that these crews are cleaning up. We anticipate that there will be a large volume of brush that residents will have for disposal as well, more than what can reasonably be bundled. After the brush trucks have removed the brush debris generated by our own crews, Mr. Crawford and Mr. Dyrhaug will be assessing what our capabilities might be for removing brush cleaned up by residents.

We appreciate your continued patience as we work to clean up our city after what has been confirmed as an EF-1 tornado touchdown. We also appreciate the work of so many of you as you assist in these efforts in a variety of ways. Personally, I am so encouraged by all the residents offering to help one another in this time of need. You are what makes this city great. Thank you.


UPDATE (9:49 AM):

This morning Chief Williams and Mr. Dyrhaug rode the City to survey the damage from yesterday’s storm. Here’s what they report: Some areas got hit hard. There are a lot of trees down including a number of trees that have fallen onto homes. A number of homes also took a direct hit. Some of the hardest hit areas include Poinsettia, the Richardson Street and Cox Street neighborhoods, and Remington (outside the City but inside our Fire District). Brentwood, Morning Mist, some areas along Curtis Street, and a few other areas also took some damage.

Most of the roads are now open although there are a few remaining spots with trees down on the road. This includes Richardson Street and Eastview Circle, among others. The Fire Department is working on clearing these where they are capable. We believe that we have only one traffic signal still not operating yet, at the intersection of Main Street and Garrison Road. However, the timing seems to be off for many of the traffic signals in town. The Police Department is reporting this to SCDOT so that they can fix these issues.

Power has been restored to most neighborhoods although there are still a few pockets without power. Duke continues to work on restoring power. Generators are available for individuals that need power for an emergency medical need.

We have three Fire Department shifts working today to clean up fallen trees. They are also working to shore up some of the hardest hit homes. Lowe’s home improvement is donating lumber and other supplies as needed by our crews. Public Works crews are going behind the Fire crews with our brush grabbers to remove the trees and brush that the Fire crews are cleaning. Right now Mr. Jay Crawford is contacting Fountain Inn and Mauldin to see if they can lend any brush truck assistance.

The Police Department is patrolling the city and reporting any damage and issues that they observe. All issues are being reported to the Fire Department so that they can act as our central coordinating team.


UPDATE (8:08 AM):

Much of the City is still without power. Now that it’s daylight, we’re heading out to check on elderly and disabled neighbors. If you know someone who needs to be checked on but can’t do it yourself, let me know, and I’ll try to get someone over there.

There are still many trees down and some roads that aren’t passable. Mr. Dyrhaug and Chief Williams are out surveying the damage right now and will provide updates. I will share them as I receive them.

I’ve been told Richardson St. is a problem and East Georgia is out at Howard. Some estimates for power restoration are at 4 PM. Duke Energy spokesman Ryan Mosier said crews are coming in from Asheville to assist with restoring power in Simpsonville. If you have updates to share, please share. Otherwise, stay safe, tale care of each other, and stay tuned for updates.

Update to Online Code of Ordinances

Ever wish the City’s Code of Ordinances online were more user-friendly? Well, now it is!  I just checked it out last week, and it’s easier to search, view, share, download, and print than ever before.  This is because the City’s Code is now published online through a service known as Municode.  Features of Municode include:

  1. ·         An easy-to-use navigation pane;
  2. ·         Users can share links to specific sections of the Code;
  3. ·         Users can print specific sections of the Code;
  4. ·         Users can download specific sections of the Code into Microsoft Word;
  5. ·         Users can E-mail specific sections of the Code;
  6. ·         Users can see view different archived versions of the Code;
  7. ·         Users can easily search the Code for keywords;
  8. ·         Users can sign up to receive E-mail notifications of when the Code is update;
  9. ·        Users can see recent changes to the Code and pending amendments;
  10. ·         Users can also share, print, download, and E-mail the Code of Ordinances in its entirety.

This process of getting the City’s Code on Municode took an extensive period of time.  But we expect that users will find that their ability to access and navigate the Code will be better than ever.  The Code can be accessed at the following link:

Note: Amendments to the Code approved since the beginning of September have not yet been included in this Code.  This has to do with the extent of time that it has taken for Municode to prepare the document for online publication.  Ms. Phyllis Long, City Clerk, is working with Municode to get the recent amendments to the Code published.  Part of Municode’s service is that they handle the codification of new ordinances for the City.  This will be a great timesaver for staff.

Arts Center Update 11.23.2016

Planning and Zoning Manager, Mr. Jason Knudsen has provided Council with the most recent update on the Arts Center Feasibility Study.

The organizational analysis portion of the feasibility study is now complete.  Read more about the components of the study here.

The team is still working on the building analysis.  Both the City Fire Marshal and Building Inspector have inspected the school building. And the team arranged for a certified inspector to do an initial assessment for mold, asbestos, and lead–and they got him to do it for FREE.  They’ve really done some amazing work over the past few months–at no cost to the city. Next up: cost analysis.

Next meeting is Monday, November 28th at 6:30 PM, City Hall.

Read previous reports about the feasibility study here.

Here’s the report, which will (per decision of the Council) also be posted to the city’s website.



Media Release: Update on Cati Blauvelt Murder Investigation

This morning, the Simpsonville Police Department issued a press release regarding the Cati Blauvelt murder investigation. Two warrants for arrest were issued.  One suspect is in custody; the other is still at large:

If anyone has information on this case, please contact Investigator Keith Morecraft with SPD at 864.962.0289 or 864.608.5348 or

While nothing can bring her back or lessen the pain of her loss, the SPD has been working very hard to do what they can: bring justice for her and her family. Please continue to remember Cati’s family and friends, as well as our SPD family, in your thoughts and prayers.

Meeting Recap 10.25.2016

On Tuesday, October 25, Council met for a Committee of the Whole Meeting at 6:30 PM in Council Chambers. Here are the highlights:

At roll call, Council was informed Mr. Graham would be absent again—this time due to a familial obligation.

After the Pledge of Allegiance, Council hear an Update from Allison McGarity of the Simpsonville Chamber of Commerce. She reported that the recent Oktoberfest Sippin in Simpsonville event was a success—the biggest to date! More than 25 businesses participated and over 800 ticketed guests attended. She also reported on upcoming events, including Halloween at Heritage Park/Goblinfest, the Holiday Market, and the Christmas Parade.


City Administrator David Dyrhaug read from two reports he had provided to Council: 1) Monthly Financial Report; 2) City Administrator’s Quarterly Report. Councilman Gooch asked for future monthly financial reports to also include outstanding debt. Mr. Dyrhaug indicated that would not be a problem.


Items from the Last Committee of the Whole Meeting

Video Recording of Council Meetings

Council was provided additional information from the City’s IT Specialist on possibilities for video recording meetings. Ms. McHone’s report answered questions from the previous Committee of the Whole meeting presented by Mr. Cummings and Mr. Gooch. She clarified for Mr. Cummings that the $1630.00 charge in the report is a per month charge, not a per year charge, for upgrading the internet speed at City Hall. She explained the pros and cons of using Facebook Live to broadcast meetings. She reiterated her previous recommendation: “Regardless of what is decided as far as streaming videos is concerned, I still recommend budgeting to replace the cameras in the Council Chambers with more up-to-date cameras with high definition, as well as the microphones. Since the Council Chambers is also used for Municipal Court, you will be taking extra security measures for court, when it’s in session.” Given this is a budgeting issue, the item was moved to the first budget workshop meeting in the new year. At that time we can address the costs associated with needed equipment upgrades both for the court and for potential recording of Council meetings.

Revisions to Code of Ordinances, Chapter 6 – Animals

At its Committee of the Whole meeting on September 27, 2016, the City Council discussed the following proposals pertaining to the revisions placed before the Committee of the Whole for consideration:

  1. Eliminate the age restriction proposed for the dog park provided that children under the age of 14 must be accompanied by an adult
  2. Accept the recommendations from staff and the American Kennel Club
  3. Maintain the current restrictions on pets at Heritage Park
  4. Do not add a fine for failing to remove pets’ excrement

Ms. Braswell moved to send this to the first Committee of the Whole meeting in January 2017. Motion passed.

If you have questions, concerns, or suggestions regarding the animal ordinance, speak to city staff or a councilmember before January.

Traffic Calming Policy

Council was provided with a draft of the proposed new traffic calming policy. Mr. Dyrhaug summarized the new policy:

The policy contains an introduction that (1) explains the neighborhood traffic issues that the policy is intended to address, (2) specifies the objectives of the policy, and (3) identifies the streets that will be addressed under the policy.

The policy outlines a new process as follows:

  1. Initiate a request
. Six separate property owners required to sign the Traffic Calming Request form. A “citizen representative” shall be designated to work with City staff
. The study area for the application will be established by staff.
  2. Collect traffic data, accident data, roadway geometric data, etc.
  3. Undertake a “Neighborhood Awareness Campaign”
  4. Evaluate the data and location for eligibility for traffic calming
  5. Consider, implement, and evaluate appropriate cost-effective “non-structural” traffic 
calming alternatives
  6. Create a traffic calming plan that incorporates appropriate structural traffic calming 
. Coordinate with City departments and the citizen representative. Conduct a neighborhood meeting
  7. Obtain petition support for the plan from at least 65% of the property owners in the study area
  8. Install and evaluate trial structural traffic calming measures
  9. Approve funding for and construct permanent structural traffic calming measures 
§ Cost estimates presented during the annual budgeting process; must be approved in annual budget 
§ Private funding may be considered if raised by the neighborhood
  10. The policy indicates that if the neighborhood no longer wants previously installed structural traffic 
calming measures, they must follow the same procedure to obtain 65% approval via petition

Mr. Gooch expressed concern with the Step 1 requirement for six property owners and suggested a smaller number. Mr. Dyrhaug agreed that could work. They settled on 4 as a number. Mr. Dyrhaug asked Council to weigh in on how many neighborhood activities would need to be complete. Mr. Gooch recommended 1 rather than 2. Council agreed. We are moving forward with the new policy, and it will appear before Council at the November 15th Business Meeting. I’ve requested a copy of the draft be posted to the city’s website for anyone interested. Mr. Dyrhaug has indicated it will be posted. (Update: it is now posted here)

New Items Anticipated to Come Before Council

Bid Acceptance of Body Worn Cameras for the Police Department

Council received the following as information only: In July, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety awarded the Simpsonville Police Department with a grant in the amount of $58,148 for the purchase of body-worn cameras and associated equipment for maintenance and storage. The City has since gone out for and received bids for the cameras and associated equipment. Staff is presently reviewing the bids received and is preparing to provide a recommendation to City Council at its November 15 business meeting.

Bid Acceptance of the Contractor for Fire Station #5

Council received the following as information only: In 2015, Greenville County approved a G.O. bond for the Simpsonville Fire District for the purpose of constructing a new fire station (station #5), purchasing new fire apparatuses, and acquiring land for a future station (station #6). Recently the City had gone out for and received bids from contractors for construction of station #5. Unfortunately, all the bids came in over budget—by at least $400,000! The architect, Mr. Ken Newell, was on hand to explain why that happened and what our options are in his opinion. According to Mr. Newell, the construction business is good lately, so one problem is we received only 5 bids out of 11 we thought we would get—the construction companies are all so busy that some of them just didn’t follow through with the bids. In addition, there’s been 10-15% inflation in the industry over the last year. This is important not only in understanding why the bids are high but also in determining whether or not we should put the project back out to bid or find a way to work with the current bids. To put it out for rebid, we would need to change the bid specs first. The delay in getting a successful bid could be up to month, and we run the risk of getting back bids that are actually even higher because we could expect a 1-2% inflation in even that short a period fo time. We would risk getting less for the same or more money as the current bids. Mr. Dyrhaug explained that he thinks we can make it work with some budget adjustments and the current fund balance. We recently sold a surplus fire engine for $11,000. He and Chief Williams found $97,000 in next year’s budget that won’t be needed (i.e. they needed that money this year but won’t next year). They also estimated that we’ll see increased revenues in the fire service area of about $70,000. This makes the $400,000 overage slightly more palatable. We’d have only $222,000 left to cover the project, and Mr. Dyrhaug believes that we can pull that from our fund balance.

Between now and the next Business meeting, more research will be done on this, and staff will be prepared to make a more formal recommendation to Council. This will be voted on at that meeting.

Mr. Cummings had to leave the meeting at around 7:20.

Items Requested by Council

Update on the Arts Center Feasibility Study: Councilmember Lockaby.

This is from the memo Ms. Lockaby provided to Council:


Mayor and council, I move to receive an update from Mr. Jason Knudsen on the feasibility study currently being conducted for the former Simpsonville school building on Academy Street.


In light of inquiries I have received from citizens regarding this feasibility study, I would like to receive an update in a City Council meeting so that citizens who attend the City Council meeting or listen to the audio recording of the meeting may hear directly from Mr. Knudsen the latest update on this study.

Here is my position, which I expressed last night:

I don’t think it’s necessary for us to take time in a meeting for this. We have the written report (provided to Council on 9-28-16 and which I posted online here). We should be able to answer citizen comments using that report; if not, we should be able to get the answers directly from staff and then share with interested parties. With that said, it is always good to provide as much access to as possible to citizens. I think, though, we can do that in a way that is more efficient and respectful of the time of citizens who do come to meetings and the staff who are required to be here.   For example, the report could be posted online on the city’s website. This would be no different than having access to a verbal report on the mp3, and would, in fact, be better in that citizens who are interested in the topic can just go directly to the document without having to listen through the mp3 to the part where it’s discussed. To that end, I would like to amend the motion to direct the City Administrator to post the current progress report online as soon as possible and to post any subsequent progress reports on the feasibility study to the city website, at the same time such reports are provided to Council, so citizens have access to the information for review.

The amended motion passed. Look for the current and future reports online soon.

As a reminder, if you are interested, the feasibility study meetings are open to the public. You can go and listen in live. There’s a meeting this Thursday, October 27th. The agenda is on the city’s website.

Meeting adjourned right at 7:30 PM.

Meeting Recap 7.26.16

Here’s a recap of Tuesday’s (7-26-16) Committee of the Whole meeting…

Proclamation recognizing Dianne Carson for her contributions to the City of Simpsonville:

Ms. Carson founded the Simpsonville Farmer’s Market in 2010. At that time, it had 6 vendors and was located by The Loom. Under her leadership, the market flourished, and in 2012, it moved to its current location at City Park. Today the market boasts 50 vendors. In addition, in 2012, Ms. Carson founded the Harmony Garden and served as its Master Gardener. Read more about Harmony Garden here. We’re fortunate to have someone as dedicated to the City of Simpsonville as Ms. Carson is. Citizens like her help make this city a better place. Read more about why the Farmer’s Market is so important to our community here.


Chamber Update:

Ms. McGarity provided an update on recent and upcoming Chamber activities. Of note is Friday night’s Low Country Boil, which she reported will have around 530 attendees. Also of note: Ms. McGarity reported on the success of the Police Department Appreciation packages initiative, which was a joint effort between the Chamber and the City. Thanks to donations from local businesses and private citizens, they were able to deliver 60 bags to the PD and stock the breakroom with water, tea, and Gatorade for the officers to share.

The following matters referred by staff were moved to the Business Meeting on August 9th for official vote by full Council:

  1. Adoption of latest International Building Codes. This update is mandated, so there was little to no discussion.
  2. Revision to Code of Ordinances, Chapter 30. Solid Waste Management. The purpose of this revision is to adopt changes that will make the ordinance match our new privatized sanitation services. Little to no discussion.

The following matters referred by Council were moved to the August 9th Business Meeting for a final vote:

  1. Unity Meal. This was presented by Councilman Cummings. Discussion revolved around finding a day/time that works for everyone. Unanimous vote to recommend to full council.
  2. Habitat for Humanity Development Proposal at Woodside Park. This matter was brought by Councilman Gooch. This matter was moved to the Business Meeting by a majority vote with the following members voting no: Graham, Braswell, Lockaby.

Read about the most recent Habitat for Humanity project in Simpsonville in this article article in The Greenville News and in my 6-month check-in post here.

The following matter referred by Council was moved to the August 23rd Committee of the Whole Meeting:

Update to Code of Ordinances, Chapter 6. Animals. Councilman Gooch brought this matter on behalf of Mayor Curtis. The motion was for one councilmember and the Mayor to review Chapter 6 and bring recommended changes to the August 9th Business Meeting for a vote. In my opinion, as voiced at the meeting, there was a misunderstanding about the motion. What ensued was a series of amendments and even an amendment to an amendment (out of order but not called). The end result is that all of Council will review the ordinance and bring recommended changes not to the Business Meeting on August 9th but to the next Committee of the Whole Meeting at the end of August. Assuming Council reviews and recommends changes in a timely fashion, the matter should then be moved to the September Business Meeting for First Reading. Second Reading would take place at the Business Meeting in October.

Council then moved into Executive Session, where a number of items (see agenda) were discussed. No votes were taken. No action was taken. Upon returning to open session, a number of motions and votes occurred. All passed unanimously to the August 9th Business Meeting for a vote. Those matters are as follows:

  1. Motion to adjust the salary of the Chief Judge.
  2. Motion to enter into an agreement for the Fair at Heritage Park.
  3. Motion to move forward with an agreement with TRZ Management for the management of the amphitheater.
  4. Motion to enter into a contract with Pratt Industries for the supply of recycling materials.

All of these items will appear on the Business Meeting agenda August 9th and will be presented to Council for a vote.

6 Month Check-in

It’s been (a little over) 6 months, so it seems like a good time for a recap.

When I was campaigning, I told you that I wanted Simpsonville to focus on three areas: economic development, community & culture, and One Simpsonville, United.

Let’s look at those more closely:

Economic Development:

As I’ve said before, in a city like Simpsonville, community development IS economic development, and as I said at the June Committee of the Whole Meeting, successful municipal community and economic development begins with elected officials making an organizational commitment to community and economic development. At that time, I made a motion to charge our City Administrator with creating a strategic plan for community and economic development in Simpsonville. The Committee moved that motion to the July 12th business meeting for consideration of Council, and Council approved us moving forward with such a plan. This is great news in light of the recently announced MASC economic development grants.

In support of community and economic development, several business and community leaders presented to Mayor Curtis and the City of Simpsonville a check for $1000.00 to illustrate their commitment to partnering with the City in a One Simpsonville effort to make economic development a priority. The City of Simpsonville will seek to grow the account by pursuing grants and in future budgeting efforts.

Community & Culture:

Museum Signs: In April, I was contacted by the Simpsonville Museum of Revolutionary War History (which is run completely by volunteers). They wanted to know if the city could help them purchase some signage to help let the public know their location and hours. I told them that I didn’t think the city could afford to do that given the great number of critical needs we were currently reviewing in our budget workshops. However, I thought this would be a great opportunity to bring together some citizens, businesses, and our government in a One Simpsonville effort to help increase access to this cultural service through signage. So I reached out to Jason Knudsen, our City Planner, to inquire about what kinds of signs would work for the Museum’s purpose. Then, I reached out to our community to ask for their help. Within just two days, we had collected enough money to purchase appropriate signage. Today, if you drive past the historic Simpsonville Elementary School building, you can see these portable sidewalk signs that indicate the location and operating hours of the museum.

Arts Center Feasibility Study: As of July 8th, the Arts Center Feasibility study is officially underway! Read the most recent progress update here. We first started talking about this back in March. Since then, the motion passed from Committee of the Whole to full Council, where it was approved. Mr. Dyrhaug and Mr. Knudsen have since pulled together the appropriate people to help complete the study, so we can determine once and for all whether or not it’s feasible to house an Arts Center in the historic Simpsonville Elementary School. Further, the group of people working together on that feasibility study include business owners, citizens, city staff, and non-profit representatives—and that’s what One Simpsonville is all about.

 Symphony (free!): We brought the Greenville Symphony Orchestra back to Simpsonville for the Independence Day Celebration at Heritage Park. And we were able to do it with free parking and free admission, increasing access to community and cultural programs and services. We were able to offer it free by embracing the One Simpsonville spirit of collaboration and partnership. The event was made possible by partnering with the following:

  • Greenville County,
  • Greenville Health Systems,
  • Greenville Technical College,
  • Lockheed Martin, and
  • Laurens Electric Cooperative.


One Simpsonville, United:

In addition to all the One Simpsonville examples above, we have a few more efforts that come to mind. What these efforts share is a concerted effort to invite citizens, businesses, and non-profits to participate in the processes and projects of the City. They also share a willingness to be open and responsive to the ideas, suggestions, and desire to help improve the community presented by members of our community.

Fire Safety House/Modern Woodmen of America Partnership: This is such a great example of the true One Simpsonville spirit. In this venture, we have truly united our city—its citizens, its businesses, and its government—working together for continuous improvement. Read more about how here.

 Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County: While the City was not an official partner in the recently completed build on Boyd Ave, several city leaders attended the wall-raising and the dedication ceremony and met with Habitat leaders to discuss how to create an effective, mutually beneficial relationship as we move forward. This is important because the Boyd Ave project did include partnerships with many private citizen volunteers, local businesses, and our local faith community. We need to continue to grow such relationships.

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We’ve strengthened our relationship with our Chamber of Commerce. Chamber leaders will be intimately involved in the formulation of the strategic plan for economic development. Recently, the Chamber’s Leadership Simpsonville group presented to us their planned projects for this year, which include the construction of an ADA-approved Sensory Playground and swings and signage for downtown. These projects will be a huge asset to our community. Council voted unanimously to support the projects. You can help donate to the Sensory Playground here. In another recent partnership, the Chamber and the City of Simpsonville worked together to collect, assemble, and distribute appreciation packages to the employees of the Simpsonville Police Department.

We did all of this while also passing a budget with no tax increase. And we worked with Public Works on a plan to privatize some of our sanitation services to save money and increase the quality of service to our citizens.

It’s been a busy year so far, and I’m not saying it’s been perfect, but I am saying this: we’re making progress. We’re moving in the right direction. And we’re going to continue on this path because that’s what’s best for Simpsonville.

Arts Center Feasibility Study Update

1462888226112On July 8th, a meeting was held at the historic Simpsonville Elementary School to begin the work for the feasibility study for the Arts Center (read previous posts related to the Arts Center here). This feasibility study will be completed under the leadership of Mr. Jason Knudsen.

Community members representing these areas of experience will work on the study: grant writing, historic preservation, performing arts, visual arts, architecture/engineering, Simpsonville Arts Foundation, and the Simpsonville Revolutionary War Museum. Each member will volunteer their time and work together to research and answer the questions within each section of the study.

This feasibility study will determine whether an arts center can be successful in Simpsonville. The purpose is to identify roadblocks that may prevent the successful implementation of an arts center. The study will consist of four main components: market analysis, organizational analysis, building and equipment analysis, and financial analysis.

A. Market Analysis

Market analysis is extremely critical in determining the success of an arts center and should be completed first. If the analysis concludes there isn’t a need or a customer/user base, the project is deemed not feasible and the study concludes. Finding answers to the following questions is vital when conducting the market analysis:

  1. What is the current demand for the proposed services/products?
  2.  What are the target markets/demographics?
  3. What are the common characteristics of the target markets/demographics?
  4. What competition exists in the market, how do they operate and what services do they provide?
  5. Can a market niche be established to enable the arts center to compete effectively with existing competition?
  6. How successful is the competition (user counts, profits, occupancy, etc.)? Is the location of the arts center likely to affect its success?

B. Organizational Analysis

If the market analysis supports and shows a need for an arts center, the next step is to determine how the center should be managed. The legal business structure needs to be identified first in order to best understand personnel needs. The following questions will help form the organizational structure:

  1. What legal organizational structure is right for the arts center?
  2. Is a board of directors or a single program director appropriate?
  3. What qualifications should the board/director have?
  4. What qualifications are needed to manage day to day operations?
  5. What other staffing needs will be required and how might that change over the next 2-3 year?

C. Building and Equipment Analysis

In repurposing an older building, renovations and new equipment will be necessary. A thorough analysis of the existing structure will identify required renovation. Equipment needs can cover a wide range of items from telephones to ceramic furnaces and specialized equipment. The key at this stage is to identify what will be needed and the cost. The following are questions to consider during this analysis:

  • Building: What will require renovation? What is the itemized cost and timeline for renovation? How does the ability to complete renovations affect the start-up timeline?
  • Equipment: What are the equipment needs for the arts center? Where will the equipment be sourced form? When can the equipment be obtained?How does the ability to obtain equipment affect the start-up timeline? What is the cost associated with each item/service?

D. Financial Analysis

Financial analysis is the last step to a feasibility study due to the other components being necessary for an accurate understanding of costs and revenue. If the previous steps are not thorough, the financial analysis will not be adequate. The risk here is that the study may show the arts center to be feasible when in reality it’s not. Financial analysis is broken into the following five categories:

  • Start-Up Costs: These are the costs incurred in starting the arts center. These costs include renovations, equipment, etc.
  • Operating Costs: These are the ongoing costs, such as utilities and wages.
  • Revenue Projections: This is an assessment of estimated monthly revenue fromrent and programing.
  • Sources of Financing: Potential lending, donation, and grant sources should be identified.
  • Profitability Analysis: Using the costs and revenue analysis, this step shows the “bottom line” and if the arts center will bring in enough revenue to cover operating expenses. If it’s determined the center will lose money, changes may be made to the proposed programming to see if the bottom line improves.

Since the meeting, the team has started the market analysis.  Stay tuned for more updates!

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.