In pursuit of balance: With careful planning, Greenville will enjoy a bright future

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By Caleb C. Freeman

How fortunate we are in Greenville and Upstate South Carolina to have a robust economy. New companies from around the world are attracted to the Upstate, bringing new people and creating new jobs, adding to a steady growth in business, housing, and civic pride.

Balancing this economic development and community growth takes thoughtful oversight and coordination. We are also fortunate that the Greenville County Council and county staff are dedicated to getting this balance right. They are spearheading a comprehensive plan that will involve us all in this pursuit of balance. We will be asked to look ahead, to plan for the next 10 years. The goal is to foster economic development and to nurture our quality of life. This is also the challenge.

This comprehensive plan will build on the proven success of the Upstate’s can-do work ethic, forged by our textile history. This work ethic is what attracts so many diverse industries to Greenville. We have earned our reputation, coined by the Harvard Business Review and acknowledged by most, as home to “world-class manufacturers for the global economy.”

This comprehensive plan also will build on the appeal of our Upstate’s quality of life. Greenville is growing; you need only walk downtown to see the change. People love living here. It is no secret that we enjoy a mild climate, a wonderful outdoors with nearby lakes and mountains, and a community spirit of cooperation and civic pride. Call it “Southern hospitality” or “just good manners,” but visitors to Greenville respond with enthusiasm and
that’s something we don’t want to change.

A lack of planning results in growth that can go everywhere and cause headaches for everyone. With coordinated planning, guided by a comprehensive vision, one we all contributed to, Greenville should enjoy its world-class reputation for generations to come.

Looking ahead, planning will consider where the growth can and ought to take place. Rather than seeing limitations on land use because of inadequate roads or water and sewer infrastructure not being in place, the better approach will study where these vital services can go from an engineering point of view and where these services ought to go from an investment point of view. Development can then follow at a pace driven by economic
demand, not by guesswork.

Greenville can succeed in its pursuit of balance, if we all contribute to a thoughtful comprehensive plan.

Caleb C. Freeman is the developer of Acadia, a new-homes community in Greenville. He received his bachelor’s degree in European history from Harvard University and his Juris Doctor of law from the University of South Carolina. Freeman serves as a commissioner of the Metropolitan Sewer Subdistrict, dba MetroConnects.

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