Busy 2018 begins with G.R.O.W. renewal, new road construction, post office purchase
Mayor Mark W. Myers says his city is full steam ahead on efforts to transform downtown Greenwood, and during its February meeting yesterday, the Greenwood Redevelopment Commission (RDC) approved more than $4.5 million in projects that will continue the momentum.
RDC members began the meeting by renewing a second round of $500,000 for the “G.R.O.W. Greenwood Initiative,” a matching grant program that seeks to improve the aesthetic appeal of businesses along some of its most-traveled corridors. The initiative offers local businesses matching funds to restore, upgrade and enhance their exteriors.
“Small businesses are the foundation for Greenwood’s economy, and the ‘G.R.O.W.’ program is a great mechanism to facilitate growth while providing other benefits to the community as a whole,” said RDC President Brent Tilson. “The results have been tremendous thus far, and we want to continue partnering with local businesses to accelerate improvements.”
Later in the meeting, the RDC approved what will be one of the G.R.O.W. program’s most high-profile recipients, Planetary Brewing. Located near the corner of Main St. and Madison Ave. in the heart of downtown, the company plans a major exterior renovation with up to $100,000 in G.R.O.W. funding that will support the project.
Planetary recently purchased the building adjacent to its current building, and the project encompasses both exteriors. Among its many planned additions, Planetary owners will expand its tap room and construct a brewing operation visible from the street.
Another major milestone took place when the RDC approved the $3.7 million construction contract for a new connector road across the northern edge of the former Greenwood Middle School property and through Old City Park. The Surina Way to Market Plaza connection will be an 800 ft. multi-modal roadway featuring sidewalks, decorative lighting and an innovative bio swale drainage system.
The project includes a public-private partnership between the city and Our Lady of the Greenwood Catholic Church, which will add more than 160 parking spaces to the area. The lot will be accessible to the public absent times traditionally associated with church services.
Additional project elements include reconstruction of the public parking lot next to the Greenwood Public Library – with decorative permeable pavement – and the addition of a fourth rain garden to Old Town Greenwood.
“Our vision for the future of Greenwood is founded upon the preservation and revitalization of our city’s core,” said Myers. “These projects continue that revival, improving the landscape while maintaining important historic features. We’re committed to the history and the authenticity that makes Old Town Greenwood unique.”
Toward the meeting’s conclusion, RDC members gave initial consideration for the purchase of 345 W. Main St., the building currently housing downtown’s post office. If the RDC votes to approve the purchase during its next meeting, Greenwood will buy the building for $330,000 from a private owner, and the city will continue to lease to the post office through June 2019.
Myers says future plans are undecided but stressed that Greenwood will seek to maintain a post office in the downtown area.
“This is going to be a busy year for both Greenwood and the RDC,” said Myers. “We’ve worked very hard to be in a strong financial position, and now it’s time for those efforts to produce a positive impact for the community.”