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Unity Park, Greenville's Newest Urban Renewal Project, Faces Gentrification

Unity Park, Greenville's Newest Urban Renewal Project, Faces Gentrification

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Update:

A 60-acre park on the western edge of downtown Greenville has been a project Black residents have long urged for. But they're concerned about gentrification that comes with such major public investment initiatives.

City leaders are making a major effort to build affordable housing near Unity Park. The Greenville Housing Fund plans on developing 1,000 units on eight different sites, most of which will be affordable for those below 50% income level.

Southernside Senior I

In late July, the City of Greenville announced it had donated eight acres to Greenville Housing Fund for affordable housing projects. Four affordable developments are already underway and GHF hopes to provide 1,000 units of housing for lower income individuals by year-end, according to their organization.

Southernside Senior I is a proposed 147-unit affordable apartment complex for seniors on two separate sites near Unity Park in Southernside. Designed by McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture, Greystone Affordable Development and the Greenville Housing Fund, this project will be age restricted to 55 or older and offer one and two bedroom apartments as well as amenities such as resident lounges and public/private outdoor space.

The first site, bordered by West Washington Street, South Hudson and Oscar streets, will include 93 one-bedroom apartments and 30 two-bedroom units in two buildings with four floors and elevators. Further west on West Washington Street towards Trescott Street, 54 one-bedroom and 15 two-bedroom units will be constructed within a single building also equipped with elevators.

Developers say the mission is to meet a growing need for senior housing in Greenville's Southernside neighborhood. They selected these sites due to their close proximity to parks and other amenities that make them easily accessible for aging neighbors and their families.

In addition to residential units, the complex will also provide services for the local community and its inhabitants. This includes a health center with mobile dental unit for residents as well as access to an in-home care program.

Other projects planned for the site include a commercial and retail center, as well as an entirely reimagined Community Center. According to Brown, "the Community Center will serve as a social hub for the neighborhood, providing residents with somewhere to gather and interact."

Another objective of the project is to accommodate residents with disabilities and seniors. The complex will feature a mix of apartments, some specifically designated for people with disabilities and others for low-income seniors.

The developer also claims they will be able to assist people in finding employment and training opportunities nearby. The complex will be conveniently situated near public transportation, numerous restaurants, and shopping centers.

Unified Housing Solutions has begun planning another affordable complex for a location adjacent to Southernside Community Center. West Washington Street will be the location of this development, which will feature one- and two-bedroom apartments for those in the neighborhood who require affordable housing.

The complex will include an elevator and garage, as well as being connected to Southernside Community Center and Unity Park. A $500k investment from Greenville Housing Fund has been pledged towards this venture which is anticipated to begin construction next year.

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