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Local residents give input for council priorities


Shannon Keith

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Local residents attending a town hall on Tuesday said repairing potholes on city roads and better lighting in local neighborhoods should be among the priorities for the Greenville City Council to address later this month.

District 1 Councilwoman and Mayor Pro-Tem Kandie Smith held a meeting on Tuesday at Greenville City Hall to get public input on what residents would like the City Council to prioritize during its annual planning retreat Jan. 27-28.

“We have these planning sessions every year, and we talk about what we think you want us to do,” Smith said. “I wanted to have this meeting so I could talk with you and find out what exactly that is.”

During its annual planning retreat, the City Council prioritizes its goals for the next year. Last year, the City Council identified the redevelopment of Greenville’s Town Common as its top priority. Smith said she wanted to receive as much input as possible in advance of the planning retreat.

Smith said some of the items that will be discussed at the retreat included:

* A pedestrian bridge that will connect the Town Common to River Park North;

* Completion of several greenway projects;

* Plans for the former Imperial Tobacco site on Atlantic Avenue;

* Plans to construct a fire-rescue station off of Fire Tower Road.

“I want to give people an opportunity to give us some feedback on these issues as well as other concerns they have in the city,” Smith said. “We aren’t elected to go to this planning session and talk about what we want personally. ... We are here to represent you.”

Many of the residents at Tuesday’s meeting voiced concerns about the need for better lighting in some residential areas of Greenville and the condition of some city-maintained roads.

“When I drive through my neighborhood, I have to cut my bright lights on,” a woman at Tuesday’s meeting said. “I’ve had several near misses with hitting pedestrians because the lighting is so poor.”

“The roads are in bad shape,” another woman said. “When people come to Greenville, they will judge us on the state of our roads. We need to address the roads and lighting in our neighborhoods before we do anything else. ... Those are the things that we will be judged on and those are the things that make a city better as a whole.”

Other suggestions during Tuesday’s meeting included:

* Solutions to the parking shortage in the downtown district;

* Developing more youth-enrichment programs in the city;

* Programs that encourage and support small businesses in Greenville;

* Better communication between the city and residents about local events or the availability of public services;

* Additional sidewalks throughout the city that are ADA-accessible.

Smith said the suggestions Tuesday would be addressed during the planning sessions.

“I am going to take this feedback tonight, and it will go with us to the planning retreat,” Smith said.

Smith encouraged residents to contact their representative on the City Council before the planning sessions on Jan. 27-28 as well as attending the meetings, which are open to the public.

“Call or email your district’s representative before Jan. 27 and give them some feedback or voice your concerns,” Smith said. “We invite you to attend as well. And if you go to the meeting and your concerns are not being addressed ... I encourage you to address that during the planning session.”

Contact Shannon Keith at skeith@reflector.com and 252-329-9575.