More downtown Greenville development signals population growth, says councilwoman

If you’ve driven through Downtown Greenville, lately, you’ve probably noticed a vast amount of construction and growth. City leaders say they are keeping up with demand, but working to plan smart.

They’re tracking an average of 5,000 new people moving into the metro area each month. It’s a staggering number that the city believes accounts for more housing needs and the opening of new businesses.

Thursday, at the corner of Church Street and University Ridge under the brand new South Ridge apartments, the owners of Biscuit Head prepared for their Friday opening.

“Just to see it open and people in here, it’s going to be amazing,” said co-owner Carolyn Roy.

Two years in the making, the brunch favorite from Asheville made its way to Greenville’s growing food scene, but instead settling in the heart of Main Street, the Roy’s took a chance on the mixed use development, slightly away from the bustle.

“It’s just a built in little community that we get to be a part of. There’s not a ton a restaurants out this way. There’s a ton of businesses, so hopefully we picked well. We will see,” Roy laughed.

It’s this type of development that’s stretching out across the city, according to city council woman Amy Ryberg Doyle. It is creating boroughs within a city, not unlike Atlanta and New York.

“We’re going to see tremendous population increase, so what we need to make sure we do is plan for it,” said Doyle.

She says they have to be smart.

“We need to plan for it. We need to plan for the density; I think we need to plan for the traffic and the public safety aspect,” said Doyle.

The city’s focus is not to lose sight of what makes Greenville special. Doyle believes this includes green space, the Reedy River and investment in community:

“We have doubled our sidewalk investment. We’re investing in all of our 35 neighborhood parks. We are spending money on corridors; so, hopefully all of the benefits you’ve seen downtown, hopefully you’ll see spread out,” she said.

Doyle said the tourism boom is also a contributing factor to the city’s growth. She said, for the first time ever, they have as much weekday capacity in city hotels as they do on the weekends.

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