Eyes on 2025, young people set goals for Greenville

Eyes on 2025, young people set goals for Greenville
Posted Saturday, February 1, 2003 - 8:01 pm

By E. Richard Walton
The Greenville News
STAFF WRITER
[email protected]

When it comes to "coolness," people in their 20s and 30s, of course, have an
idea or two.
Scores, actually.
And they're all tumbling into a hopper called Greenville Vision 2025.
Hipper nightclubs. Offbeat films. Cool housing downtown that you don't have to
be a fat cat to afford. A boost to the cultural bazaar of Greenville. And high
fashion. Think Kenneth Cole. Prada.
"We need a skyline that's visible from I-85," said Todd Korahais, 34, a Greer
businessman.
It will take the joint expertise of a futurist and a planner to meld these
ideas, said James Dan Cover, a Furman University sociology professor.
Meantime, the key to attracting and keeping young people in Greenville isn't so
complicated for Cover.
"My guess would be more of those prestigious industries," he said, referring to
companies such as BMW and Michelin. He said these firms pay well enough to
attract the young people who patronize the businesses and events the young and
restless crave.
Vision 2025, a brainstorming effort for a blueprint for Greenville's future, is
being led by David Shi, president of Furman University. A preliminary report is
expected this spring. A similar effort called Vision 2005 was headed by former
Greenville Mayor Max Heller, an effort that envisioned the revitalization of
downtown, Peace Center for the Performing Arts, the Bi-Lo Center and the
Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities.
When the "coolness" panel, one of 14 panels, met last week about 100 people,
many of them under 35, launched two hours worth of ideas.
Jeremy Strickler, 26, a stockbroker, said housing is a key in drawing some of
"creative expressive" artists, musicians and poets who give a city its flavor.
He said housing in urban downtown areas, unlike suburban tracts, encourage
people to "interact" and get to know one another. It's those relationships that
help to make a city a city.
Korahais said the diverse groups in Greenville should be encouraged to hold
more festivals, which illustrate the city's cultural richness.
Some young people said planners should create a "village atmosphere" in
Greenville. Anchored by neighborhoods, there would be bookstores, a coffee
shop, places to exercise, hip retail and flower shops. In short, uniqueness.
"We've got the Hampton Pinkney (the neighborhood) as a blueprint," said Vardry
Ramseur, who is older than 35. "Make it workable like (neighborhoods) in
Charleston."
Audrey Dodson, 26, a corporate saleswoman, said some zoning rules should be
changed to accommodate a variety of nightclubs in a variety of settings.
Strickler said new suburban houses frequently don't have porches, which he said
foster social interaction among neighbors.
"I hate the way we as young people live," Strickler said.
One man thought it might be a good idea to demolish the Church Street Bridge,
similar to the razing of the Camperdown Way bridge, to create more
"greenspace."
Several speakers mentioned how the city needs to develop the West End.
Dodson said the developers need to build "affordable" housing downtown for
young people, not just out-of-reach $300,000 condos now under construction
downtown.
She said she supports efforts to make the Reedy River more accessible from
Furman University north of Greenville to downtown.
"I think it would breathe development in the Westside" of Greenville, Dodson
said. "You slowly develop this little corner and that little corner."
Other ideas mentioned:
* Generate enough water into the Reedy River for white water rafters.
* Greenville needs to strive for more diversity and tolerance.
* Establish a Martin L. King Jr. holiday in Greenville County.
* Preserve all the interesting and architectural significant buildings in
Greenville.
* Create more Greenville greenspace everywhere.
* Encourage more bike riding, car pooling and better public transportation.
* More "cool" restaurants that serve after 10 p.m.
E. Richard Walton can be reached at 298-4317.

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