Funding approved for Sycamore Hill Gateway Plaza Project in Greenville


Funding has been approved for a long-awaited project at Greenville's Town Common.

Just around nine years is how long it's been for the Greenville community to have the Sycamore Hill Gateway Plaza Project move forward.

"I urge the council to do the right thing now," said council member McLean Godley. "They've been waiting long enough. That's all I"m asking. Make that difference."

The project is a part of a larger one that updated facilities at Greenville's Town Common. Years ago, it was a neighborhood and home to many predominately African Americans. Those neighborhoods were destroyed during an urban renewal project years ago. A historic church on site, Sycamore Hill Baptist Church, was burned down by an arson in the 1970s.

Now, the community wants to add a memorial where the church once stood to recognize the home taken away from them.

"We are dealing with some of the most negative times and have an opportunity to preserve positive history," Godley said.

Officials said the project was moving in the right direction until the company behind the project decided to make changes to the design. Officials said the changes increased the cost of the city-funded project from thousants to millions of dollars. Some councilmembers felt that should be approved by the public first.

"If two million dollars is coming from the city, I want to make sure every individual in the city has a say," said Godley.

"The amount of money we spend at this city on projects that don't have any importance that's going to educate people is shameful," interim Greenville Mayor Kandie Smith said.

The vote was unanimous to approve the project. The next step is to provide construction details sometime this fall.

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