By Ana Parra | Community Relations Director, Greenville Forward
Ten years is a short time in the life span of a county. But in 10 short years, Greenville County has seen a lifetime of changes.
Ten years ago, Vision 2025 was created and launched in our community. Vision 2025 was a list of goals that would transform Greenville into a community that people wanted to move to and not move away from. It was an ambitious vision, but as we’ve seen over the last few years, it was doable with the right leadership and partnerships.
Ten years later, Greenville has accomplished about 60 percent of Vision 2025. In an August column for the Upstate Business Journal, Greenville Forward’s Executive Director Russell Stall discussed how, despite all of Greenville’s successes, we as a community could not rest on our laurels. But we should also be immensely proud of what Greenville has become. And this year with all of our successes and the 10th anniversary of Vision 2025 to commemorate, it’s time to celebrate.
We should celebrate Vision 2025’s 10-year anniversary, and we should celebrate all year long. And I have some ideas on how to do that – 10 ideas, to be exact.
At Greenville Forward we often encourage people to get engaged in the community, but we’re not asking people to volunteer just yet. We’re asking people to take time to really learn about Greenville, its past and present. Whether it’s participating in one of John Nolan’s History Tours or attending a County or City Council meeting, understanding Greenville will allow you to move on to the second celebratory experience
Okay, now we want you to jump in and be a part of Greenville’s story. And if you studied Greenville, you’ll know how to find where your role lies. It may be advocating for more bike lanes and walkways, or it may even be running for a seat on the school board (if this is this is the case, skip to No. 5).
Greenville receives many accolades for its gorgeous downtown, but there’s so much more to this community than Falls Park and our tree-lined Main Street. Lake Conestee Nature Park is a beautiful hidden gem in Greenville, 400 acres of wilderness right in our backyard. Run by Greenville Rec, it also has great family-friendly programming. Or you can drive further south to Fountain Inn’s Younts Center for the Performing Arts for its impressive schedule of performances.
If you’ve thoroughly explored Greenville County, go somewhere else. Go to other communities and take note of what you like that Greenville may be missing. While every community should have its unique experiences, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to “borrow” great ideas and see how they may fit at home.
Whether you have kids or not, it’s important to appreciate the learning community in Greenville. Our school district is top-notch and we have some wonderful higher-ed institutions that are driving community development. Participate in Greenville Forward’s annual Eye on Education tour of schools in our district or sign up for a class through continuing ed programs at Furman or Greenville Tech.
Thanks to amazing local producers who have made Greenville their home, this is one of the easiest – and sometimes, the most delicious – way to celebrate Greenville. Enjoy a beer from our award-wining breweries Quest Brewing or Swamp Rabbit Brewery. Visit the Travelers Rest Farmers Market and meet some of the farmers who grow and sell in Greenville. Eat at one of the many independently owned restaurants in town, or support our local artists and artisans and purchase one (or several) of the handmade pieces made in the West Village.
You may be tempted to keep Greenville a secret, but there’s no better way to share your love than by inviting out-of-town friends and family to visit you in Greenville.
The changes in Greenville seemed to happen overnight, but they took decades of visioning, planning and execution to accomplish. From city leaders to community organizers to educators and corporate visionaries, there are so many people who worked to move Greenville forward. While these change agents don’t seek attention, it’s important to recognize their hard work.
At Greenville Forward we’re huge advocates of having coffee, because we like getting to know people. A community is only as good as its people, and we have some dynamic people in Greenville who are the real reason Greenville is great.
The wonderful thing about today’s Greenville is that it’s incredibly easy to show this town some love. All that you really need to do to celebrate 10 years of success is to commit to make the next 10 years in Greenville even better.