All that glitters is not gold in Victor sale

Staff Reports's picture
Letter to the editor

Narrowly avoiding making a terrible decision is rare in Greer.

The last time that happened was two decades ago when the Greer City Council nearly moved City Hall into the old Allen Bennett Hospital out on Wade Hampton Blvd. at Memorial Dr. Instead of making that mistake, the City Council built a new City Hall downtown, and it has proved to be a great community asset.

Back then, and over the ensuing years, the city has been blessed with great decision makers. That track record may be about to change if the City Council proceeds with the proposed deal to sell the historic Victor softball park and gymnasium.

The lure of creating another downtown Greenville plus a $2 million check and increasing the tax base must be a great temptation to cause Council members to even consider this proposal.

But all that glitters is not gold!

The funds from selling the Victor site would not be enough to build a new park with gymnasium and softball field on a different site. And even if similar facilities were to be built elsewhere, assuming a large enough vacant tract of land could be found, the new park would not be in a location that could be easily accessed by the youths (especially) who currently walk or ride bikes to Victor Park.

And moving the softball field to Turner Park would still leave the city with one less playing field. Therefore, a large chunk of the voiceless population’s recreation needs would go unserved.

A big, compact housing development on the Victor site would put more people and vehicle traffic into the growing congestion in downtown Greer. And congestion is on the verge of becoming a blight on downtown Greer.

The Victor softball field was the original Greer High School football stadium where games were played from 1921-1937. The gymnasium sits on the site of the former Victor Elementary School.

This is an iconic area, similar to the historic downtown buildings that make Greer a special place and pleasingly unique when compared with other cities.

Hopefully the City Council will reconsider by thinking of the long-term harm that this sale would do to the quality of life in Greer. Much planning may have gone into this deal, but expert consultants often do not have a grasp on the pulse of the community – that is they do not know about or overlook things that are important to those who grew up living in and loving Greer.

Many old timers are upset by this proposal. And no wonder!

The proposal passed on first reading two weeks ago without any prior public discussion or notice – unlike the weeks of conversation prior to the decision to build a new City Hall.

Most folks discovered the Victor Park deal when it was published in the newspaper. Since then, citizens have been posting complaints on social media and talking angrily about the deal in restaurants, barber shops and beauty shops.

In addition to talking, concerned citizens should express their opinions in person by calling City Council members and attending City Council meetings.

Leland E. Burch

The Greer Citizen

317 Trade Street Greer, SC 29651

Phone: 1-864-877-2076

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