Uptown’s growth making converts
Thursday, April 24, 2014 12:00 AM
Some readers might tire of our making note of so much that is taking place in Uptown Greenwood and the positive impact such is having on the city and within the community. If that’s the case, you might want to glance to the left or down the page and read one of the columnists instead.
Greenwood City Council moved another step closer to realizing a dream of building an Uptown Market with the passage of first reading on a revenue bond to finance the construction, estimated at $3 million and to be paid back through the city’s hospitality tax funds. The market will be far more than just a place where local farmers come and sell their produce and other locally grown products. Just as is the case now, there will be opportunities to enjoy live musical performances by local talent. There are plans for a splash pad that will provide an entertaining distraction for youngsters during the warmer months while Mom and Dad shop.
We know there will be opposition. There always is when it comes to spending money that taxpayers deem to be a waste. But this is not a waste of money, especially when the city can get an interest rate of about 1.5 percent on the bonds that will be paid using money provided not only by residents, but also by visitors. More than that, however, is the fact that we can already see how much of a draw Uptown Greenwood has become in just a handful of years as it has undergone something of a renaissance. Naysayers should consider venturing Uptown next Wednesday, too, when they will get a taste of what is to come. Already we have seen large crowds milling around the scaled-down farmers market, buying vegetables, honey, fruits, homemade soaps and whole locally prepared meals while being entertained by Ashby Stokes and Jake Bartley. Imagine that tenfold, if you will, and it’s easy to see just how beneficial this can and will be for Uptown.
If there is remaining doubt that Uptown is a go-to place, then just consider how on Tuesday more than 1,000 people filled the parking lot off Main Street for the University of South Carolina’s Fan Fest. By comparison, Spartanburg drew only about 300 fans.
“OK, but that’s only one event,” you say? Sure it is, but we have the Uptown space to accommodate such an event and, again, you can bet it will be a cold day in (you choose where) before Spartanburg will lasso Fan Fest day again.
Beyond such events, however, let’s keep in mind how Uptown Live (formerly Live After Five) has grown. No, the crowds are not the same with each show, but the turnout generally is quite good.
Soon enough, Uptown will again be filled with people coming to enjoy the topiaries, a major part of the reinvigorated Festival of Flowers. Right after that will be the Festival of Discovery and Greenwood Blues Cruise that has grown so large and so successful that for the second consecutive year the city, in cooperation with the state Department of Transportation, will stem the flow of traffic around Uptown that entire weekend.
There is more, of course, to Uptown than the festivals, concerts and one-day crowd-pleasers. And really, that’s the whole point. There is so much more because the city continues to add events and diversify what makes it grow more and more as a destination point.
That is why the addition of the Uptown Market is such a good one. We suspect many doubters will become converts, too.