Place Lessons Learned from the Strategic Leadership Visit
By Vickie Butler, Fayette Visioning Place Chair
On October 23, I, along with 45 other community leaders, boarded a bus headed to Greenville, Rock Hill and Fort Mill all in South Carolina and Sugar Hill, Georgia. The Fayette Strategic Leadership Visit was underway.
All of these communities provided excellent examples of how to create place. Greenville’s story about the hidden waterfall uncovered to bring a town back to life has inspired communities across the country to “find their waterfall.” Greenville’s Peace Center is a shining example of a community-driven performing arts center.
Rock Hill has made itself into a world-class sports competition town. Its soccer fields and cycling facilities attract tournaments and competitions from around the world that has created a direct economic impact of $155 million a year. Next on their project list is tennis.
The Baxter Village development in Fort Mill was an amazing mixed-use development that had a truly authentic feel to it. The restaurants and shops serve as the anchors for houses of great variety, size and price points. Nearby Kingsley was more focused on commercial and office but had beautifully mixed in apartments and hotels.
Sugar Hill, Georgia was particularly interesting story. To maintain quality development in the town core, the city itself has purchased land and seeks out the right partners. As they describe it, they control their own destiny.
On our trip, we saw a variety of infrastructure projects as well as programs that could serve as models in Fayette County. I look forward to seeing some of these great ideas come to fruition.