Greenville City Council District 4 candidate Wil Brasington said he would bring a fresh perspective without sacrificing experience on the most pressing issues facing the city.
“We’re going to keep seeing the need to strike a careful and healthy balance between not stalling or preventing growth and ensuring neighborhoods are preserved and protected,” he said. “We need a smart balance so we don’t become a victim of our own success.”
Brasington officially announced Thursday he’ll seek the Republican nomination for the District 4 seat now held by David Sudduth. Sudduth, who is also a Republican, announced Wednesday he would seek a fourth term.
Brasington has experience on both sides of development. As the president of the Alta Vista Neighborhood Association, Brasington led the fight to stop Walmart from building a downtown Supercenter at the corner of Church Street and University Ridge, a project he said was counter to the master plan of the area. As a member of the Greenville Planning Commission, Brasington has reviewed and approved new developments.
“Downtown is the heart of our city and neighborhoods are its soul,” Brasington said. “Not all growth is bad. I will work to promote continued economic development while ensuring that the resultant growth is orderly, planned, and smartly executed.”
Brasington, who is executive director of the Clemson University Alumni Association, said he believes in taking a collaborative approach to pursue the most desirable outcome. The key, he said, is to understand the different points of view. “A truly effective elected official should spend more time listening to the people he represents and less time talking to them. You need to have your finger on the pulse of the community,” he said.
The city’s most pressing issues all stem from growth, he said.
“So many issues tie directly back to growth,” he said. “The need for affordable housing in Greenville has been exacerbated in large part by the growth downtown and gentrification. Traffic on Augusta Road and Woodruff Road are by-products of growth. If you talk about infill, it’s inevitable because we’re landlocked. It has to be done in the right way. It falls under the broad category of smart, balanced and measured growth.”
While he supports the new City Park along the Reedy River, Brasington said the city must be sure the surrounding development doesn’t displace longtime residents or price them out of their homes. “I support the city’s affordable housing initiative and will work to ensure that there is a dedicated source of funding for the program,” he said.
Brasington served on the city’s residential infill task force that came up with new rules for infill after the demand for housing in established neighborhoods close to downtown caused developers to buy up properties that could be subdivided into multiple lots. That caused concern among residents already there about water runoff, clogged roads and oversized houses.
Brasington is a graduate of Leadership Greenville and Leadership South Carolina. He formerly served as a board member for the Greenville County Redevelopment Authority. He’s been chairman of the Greenville Revitalization Corporation since 2015.
This is Brasington’s first run at public office. He was student body president at Clemson University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in history. He earned a master of business administration from the University of South Carolina.