In the past few months, it seems that Greenville has been recognized as one of the best places to live in the country – for families, young professionals, international businesses and more. We’ve suddenly become “the cool kids on the block.” At our recent Momentum discussion, we explored the “cool factor,” asking WHY is Greenville cool and HOW can we stay cool? This is what the group had to say.
We started the discussion by defining “coolness” – a sometimes amorphous term that we are all striving for in some way or fashion. The group listed words such as attractive, uniqueness, current, relevant, unexpected, accessible, progressive and openness. Greenville may not be all of these things at all times, but if one thing is certain, everyone in the room thinks Greenville is a cool place to live, today. But it wasn’t always this way. Only a few years ago, Main St. was a place everyone avoided after 5PM and many young people found reasons to leave after graduation, vowing never to return. Then something happened and things began to change. Falls Park was formed, the Camperdown bridge was removed, a baseball stadium was built in the West End, restaurants and business returned to Main St. and more. Slowly, the culture shifted and suddenly Greenville became a cool place to live, work and play.
So, HOW did this happen? Did we plan to become cool or did it just happen? The simple answer is YES, both. One attendee described this success story as the 4 P’s of coolness: people, places, programs and planning. A good example of the 4 P’s is Fall Park, which took years of careful planning and innovative programs to become the hallmark of our beloved City. More than once, the group discussed Falls Park as a cool place in Greenville, where people are known to picnic on a sunny day or enjoy Shakespeare in the Park during the summer months. In the words of Russell Stall, Greenville is a “30 year overnight success” story. Now that we are cool, and recognized nationally, the group said that we need to stay cool by focusing on connectivity, education, and job creation to attract, recruit and retain the young professionals, families and businesses that keep us cool. In addition, they said we need to consider smart growth and transit options between other municipalities in Greenville County to connect cool places in Fountain Inn, Traveler’s Rest and Simpsonville. If you have ideas about how to keep Greenville cool, let us know at whatifgreenville.com!