If you were to walk with me along the four-mile circuit I travel each day from Mills Mill to Tealoha and back again, you might get the impression that downtown Greenville is one big construction area.
A sprawling 348-unit apartment complex (with 16,000 sq. feet of retail space) is one year away from completion at the corner of Church Street and University Ridge. A $30 million Aloft hotel is rising at the corner of Washington and Richardson Streets as Phase II of the extremely upscale One Main infill development that began two years ago. A 150-unit apartment building at the corner of Rhett and Wardlaw and a 140-unit apartment building called Rivers Edge at the corner of River and Broad Streets soon will join 98 East McBee as Greenville’s newest and most desirable residential properties. One block down River Street from Rivers Edge, land is being graded for another hotel and the lot recently vacated by the Wilkins House is slated to become the site of a new senior living community. Pedrick’s Garden, an extension of Falls Park, was dedicated only days ago and construction continues below and beyond it back into the park, cutting new trails, shoring up embankments, laying stone and planting things that grow in the ground.
The little cul-de-sac I mentioned a few days ago known formally or informally as The Reflection Garden already has been swept up in this seemingly never-ending tide of always everything getting better and better and better. Its diminutive landscaped areas have been wrapped in sheets of protective black plastic as the sound of earth moving equipment only a football field away pushes against the birdsong, wind and water music that one goes there expecting to hear.
When the dust settles, they say. If it settles. But I do like new buildings, truly I do, so please don’t misunderstand. I like newly paved streets, too. I like discovering new restaurants, new fountains, new public art. I like all of that. But I like closure, too. And soundscapes not seasoned with beeping and jackhammers.
No sign of those things happening any time soon.