Infill. Derelict. Development. Planning. Economics. BRT. CBD. Urban Naturalist. Community Quest. These words are quickly becoming my everyday lingo as I work for the City of Greenville, and I definitely never even saw it coming.
My internship at the City of Greenville Community Development Office is shaping up to be a wonderful experience, but I have had to play a lot of catch up to understand my role. Here is the backdrop: the City of Greenville received a $2 million grant in 2010 to create a comprehensive redevelopment plan of three central corridors in West Greenville, the poorest area of the city. I say comprehensive plan because it seeks to boost economic development and provide mixed and affordable housing opportunities linked with renewed transportation networks and increased accessibility. The hope is that this plan will help prevent displacement while still bringing more development and opportunity in. Another key feature is in trying to preserve the historic and cultural feel in each neighborhood that makes it unique. Part of this plan includes the creation of more parks and green spaces, such as the new park plan in the works along the Swamp Rabbit Trail. In the future, the plan will also help identify projects that can be done that will integrate the desires that the majority of city-dwellers have for the city, creating a very cohesive plan.
My role for the summer falls under the umbrella of this grant and planning process. A “livability educator,” Jaclin DuRant, was hired by the city to educate the public about sustainability, its relevancy, and why it matters to them. She works with many children at AJ Whitenburg Elementary School and hosts monthly events geared toward adult education and involvement. I am working primarily with Jaclin this summer, and I love it. It is a very dynamic job, working with many different people, while challenging me to think about how my specific role in developing a community education program plays into the bigger picture of planning and redevelopment of West Greenville. I have just dipped my toes into the water, and I can’t wait to see the impact of the “big splash” at the end.
This morning I helped finish off this plastic bottle greenhouse at AJ Whitenburg. It took about 2000 2-liter soda bottles to construct!