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Old 05-12-2014, 07:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cedge1 View Post
Greenville SC has weathered a number of harsh downturns, beginning with the 63 closing of Donaldson Air Base. The local economy took quite a hard hit, that required a number of years to heal. Then, Textiles began a death spiral that made 63 look like the good old days. To add to the problem, Malls began to pop up in outlying areas and began to siphon off the old guard retail businesses from the downtown/ Main St areas. Blight quickly began to settle in and claim a good portion of the Main St. corridor. By the early 80's the downtown was being deserted and tenants were extremely difficult to attract. Things were sliding downhill and getting uncomfortably shabby, with lots of empty storefronts.You guys have already painted the same or similar pictures in previous posts. The short version is that Greenville was falling behind the eightball.

We're not a large place, having a city population of only 60K. This is a deceptive number, due to legal limitations on annexation. The county has a population of just over 300k and a good bit of it is considered to be part of "metropolitan" Greenville. It's a fiscally conservative area that has become somewhat debt averse, after repeatedly surviving hard times.

Several development decisions were made during these times, some of which were certainly unpopular. In the early 1960's a local textile maven fought heavy opposition to have an airport built on the county line between Greenville and Spartanburg. This thing was close/convenient to nothing except I- 85. Donaldson "Center" was acquired from the USAF and slowly converted to what is now a successful industrial development zone. Main St was still 4 lanes wide, with metered parallel parking which gave relatively unobstructed traffic flow, but things were, as we say down here, "A Changin'."

The local development board, along with city council, agreed on a plan to reduce Main street to 2 lanes with angled parking. This plan included planting trees along the sidewalks. Parking Garages were planned to service an area no one wanted to visit, anymore. Many locals simply thought they'd lost their minds. A few years later, a bridge on a pretty significant downtown thoroughfare was scheduled for demolition, in order to develop a park along an unappealing section of the Reedy river. The redeeming aspect was the fact that a falls/shoals, that was previously hidden by the bridge, was reintroduced to a citizenry that had, long ago, nearly forgotten its existence.

Over time, those decisions began to pay serious benefits. The Main st. corridor in now a lush green welcoming environment that invites lingering pedestrian traffic. Falls Park is now a crown jewel that has encouraged further rehabilitation of ever more of the Downtown district. The change to the area has attracted a steady influx of businesses, along with lots of supporting retail and some very popular upscale urban apartments and condos.

The airport that "inhabited nowhere" became known as GSP and a huge benefit to both counties. It was among the many factors that brought Michelin to the area, along with BMW and a growing number of other big name businesses. Today, downtown Greenville is constantly hosting city planners from other cities, who want to duplicate the successes wrought by a few local men of vision. Main St doesn't always have to die, but vision, astute planning and some sacrifice are required to make it grow and thrive. Rejuvenation, along side an aggressive team of folks, working hard to bring more and bigger development to the area have been the salvation of what could have easily become a dead zone.

Street Festivals, Bike Races and other public events now draw people from NC, SC and GA who come to enjoy the relaxed "small town" social atmosphere, diverse foods and street music.

Take a stroll down Main st. Greenville SC. Notice that vacancies are few and small businesses are attracting suburban locals to once again enjoy our downtown. Just click the link below and then click your mouse down the street and have a look around. We're not quite finished just yet, but enjoy a look at our town, anyway.

https://www.google.com/maps/@34.8538...oI8mRk8qIA!2e0

Cedge



I think that a lot of smaller cities are doing or are attempting to do similar things, as they are coming to the conclusion that people are more interested in an urban environment again. Even villages or very small cities are getting in on the act and realize that they can use their built environment to their advantage to create a more vibrant community.

This area of Syracuse is similar to what you described with Greenville: Armory Square

https://www.google.com/maps/search/a...tZWX0PwmDg!2e0

This area also had a similar history: Franklin Square

Franklin Square, Syracuse - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

https://www.google.com/maps/@43.0565...1DArEmSVrw!2e0
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Old 05-12-2014, 06:47 PM
 
2,388 posts, read 2,953,386 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Don't generalize Southeastern PA across the entirety of the state. Plenty of main streets in Western PA are dead/dying, particularly in former mill towns where the mill is long gone.
Of course, that's because those towns are dying. I don't think anyone here expects a Main St. to hang on indefinitely when the population is declining.
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Old 05-13-2014, 02:41 PM
bu2
 
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Has anyone in these 12 pages mentioned Walmart?
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Old 05-13-2014, 02:43 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bu2 View Post
Has anyone in these 12 pages mentioned Walmart?
Yes
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Old 05-14-2014, 03:18 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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when not all stores can / want to locate in the main street area, the best setup is to have those stores right next to the main street so it'd be easy to walk from one to another. And generally any area immediately next to a main street will preserve some of the pedestrian friendliness. For example, Main Street of Glen Cove, Long Island:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=movie...11.01,,0,-0.73

Note there's a movie theater. A short walk away, the big strip mall is well integrated to the main street area:

https://maps.google.com/maps?q=movie...227.16,,0,5.78
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Old 05-17-2014, 03:52 PM
 
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Actually, there is much effort to bring them back. Even as cities and suburbs try to attract lucrative big box stores, they are offering incentives to locate in their old downtowns. Of course the types of businesses will be different than the mass merchandisers. There is even a national organization promoting it. http://www.preservationnation.org/ma.../#.U3faYyi9bYs

Last edited by pvande55; 05-17-2014 at 03:54 PM.. Reason: Add link
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Old 05-24-2014, 02:01 PM
 
4,023 posts, read 3,264,546 times
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Rise of the automobile, deterioration of public transit and the streetcar.

Without a convenient way to get to main street or downtown, people just stopped going. Driving creates demand for massive amount of parking, which the big box stores provided and traditional main streets lacked. So people flocked to the big box stores where they can drive and easily park their car for free without worrying about parking fees or getting a parking ticket. Driving and (traditional) main streets do not mix. You need high quality walkable infrastructure and transit options, else it won't work.
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Old 05-24-2014, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
32,364 posts, read 59,796,813 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cisco kid View Post
Without a convenient way to get to main street or downtown, people just stopped going. Driving creates demand for massive amount of parking, which the big box stores provided and traditional main streets lacked. So people flocked to the big box stores where they can drive and easily park their car for free without worrying about parking fees or getting a parking ticket. Driving and (traditional) main streets do not mix. You need high quality walkable infrastructure and transit options, else it won't work.
In your zeal to demonize the internal combustion engine, you have ignored one of the four Ps of marketing: Place. Retail establishments want to be located where the people are. As the population grew and people moved away from the center of town, the retail establishments moved along with them.
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Old 05-24-2014, 05:37 PM
 
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'Demonize the internal combustion engine?' LMAO. How in the world did you come to that conclusion?
Too funny, but thanks for the laugh.
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Old 05-24-2014, 09:09 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ohiogirl81 View Post
In your zeal to demonize the internal combustion engine, you have ignored one of the four Ps of marketing: Place. Retail establishments want to be located where the people are. As the population grew and people moved away from the center of town, the retail establishments moved along with them.
Eh. Sometimes. The retail sprawl and around many towns here doesn't seem connected to being closer to population. The non-main street shops are always any closer to where people live than the main street ones:

Why did we kill our Main Streets?

Sometimes, it's the opposite.
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