Investment in downtown has fueled Greenville’s growth, but Councilman David Sudduth said the city must balance that growth with the needs of its neighborhoods to maintain the Greenville’s quality of life.
Sudduth has officially announced he will seek re-election to the District 4 seat he’s held since 2005. District 4 encompasses the southeastern part of the city that includes Augusta Road, Parkins Mill, the TD Convention Center, the downtown airport, and the Clemson University- International Center for Automotive Research.
“We have to find a balance,” said Sudduth, who served for four years as the city’s mayor pro tem. “Will we continue to develop downtown? No question. But we’ve got to make sure we’re investing in our neighborhoods, too.”
Sudduth said he led the effort to double the money the city spends on repaving city streets and building new sidewalks. “Even at $1 million a year, people have to wait more than 50 years to get their street repaved. That’s unacceptable. It’s unacceptable to have to wait 15 to 20 years to get a sidewalk.”
Sudduth said he would support state legislation that would give municipalities the right to hold sales tax referendums to pay for specific infrastructure projects; unlike like county governments, city governments cannot currently ask the public to vote on penny sales tax-type ballot referendums.
Such taxes would spread the cost of infrastructure needs to those who visit but don’t live in the city. The city has one of the biggest disparities between daytime and nighttime populations of any of the nation’s municipalities.
“I’d like to be able to provide that as an option,” he said.
Sudduth said as the city grows, conflicts will occur between commercial and residential. “The city has done a great job in the past striking a balance with proactive planning, but you’ll still have things pop up that may not be consistent with the comprehensive plan.”
He said prior to a 2008 ordinance he helped to craft, there was a proliferation of payday lenders locating within the city limits. Most, he said, were in strip shopping centers that backed up to neighborhoods and the city had no way to deal with them. The ordinance, which prohibited payday lenders from renewing their leases if they were located within 3,000 feet of a similar business, resulted in a drastic reduction.
“We were just trying to be creative,” he said.
Sudduth said he led efforts to build a new fire station on Verdae Boulevard, a new police training center on Mauldin Road, and expanding trolley service to include Augusta Street and surrounding neighborhoods. The councilman also co-authored a city ordinance banning smoking in restaurants, bars, and at special events and led a task force that banned drivers from using hand-held devices while driving. That ordinance was later repealed after the state legislature passed a statewide law that banned texting while driving.
“I’m extremely proud of my record on council and to have played a role in our tremendous success,” he said. “We must maintain our momentum and continue to position Greenville as the city where people want to live, work, and raise a family. There’s still work to be done.”
Sudduth is vice president and chief operating officer of the Greenville Health System’s Health Sciences Center. He is a Clemson University graduate and a former member of the Clemson Board of Visitors. He serves on the Greenville Water Commission.