Greenville Mayor responds to “Falls Park” office building opposition

Proposed Falls Park office design

GREENVILLE, S.C (WSPA-TV) – Greenville citizens are fighting back against a proposed office building that would sit next to Greenville’s “Falls Park.”

Now, Greenville’s Mayor is speaking out.

Critics say the 4-story space is, at best, an eyesore and, at worst, a tremendous environmental risk to the city’s iconic space.

“The Reedy River Falls is really the signature of Greenville now,” said Frank Holleman with the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Holleman represents the Carolina Foothills Garden Club, who helped make Falls Park a Greenville icon.

“That area was a kudzu field before they started working on it and it is now the center of civic pride and, also, an emblem of our civic accomplishment in Greenville,” he said.

The park draws thousands each year. As Greenville continues to build up around Falls Park, Holleman says the club continues to work to keep the land pristine.

Now, they say the proposed office building that would sit alongside the Reedy River could ruin what they’ve worked for. They are airing grievances on a Facebook group called “Rescue the Reedy.”

“In effect, this is a proposal that risks killing the goose that laid the golden egg,” said Holleman.

With 4 stories of glass and brick, the office space would sit just off the Reedy between Main Street Bridge and the Bowater Parking Garage.

It is how close the site would be to the river that Holleman is protesting.

“Our city put in place a very responsible policy that, for the reedy river in particular and other major water ways, you’ve got to be 50 feet away from the river,” he said.

Holleman says the plans show the building closer, with the developer asking the city for an exception.

“If there was ever a place we needed to be careful, it’s right on top of the Reedy River falls,” he said.

7 News reached out to Centennial American Properties, the local group leasing and managing the project, to ask about their plans. They said they had “no comment.”

Meanwhile, Holleman sent a letter of protest to Greenville city leaders on behalf of the garden club.

“This isn’t against development. This is protecting our most important natural resource of downtown.”

The City of Greenville told 7 News that the letter was received and they would be reviewing it with the city attorney this week.

Tuesday, Greenville Mayor Knox White released a message on social media saying, “Falls Park is “sacred ground.” All are working to relocate [the] building and preserve the green along the river.”

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