Greenville City Council on Monday, May 14, gave initial approval to spending $3.5 million in tourism-related tax revenue to buy warehouses and wetlands for City Park.
Mayor Knox White said the land purchase is scheduled to receive final approval on Monday, May 21. The warehouses are on Welborn Street. The wetlands, which total nearly 0.8 acres, are on Meadow Street.
“This is one of several land purchases, sales, and exchanges that will be done for the park,” he said.
The City Council has already agreed to issue bonds for the park and set aside up to $2 million a year in hospitality tax revenue to pay the debt.
The park is expected to transform Greenville’s western flank much like Falls Park and subsequent projects transformed the West End. The park has already been a catalyst for commercial and residential development even though groundbreaking has yet to happen.
The city will seek private partners to contribute another $20 million for the park.
Plans for the park include a great lawn, a “sprayground” water feature, basketball courts, transformation of Welborn Street into a promenade, an observation tower, boardwalks and trails, a pedestrian bridge over the Reedy River, a destination playground, natural play areas, and a gathering hall and visitors center.
Improving the river’s health is one of the city’s top priorities for the park.
The first phase of the park could open in 2020.
White said the city has identified about 30 acres of additional potential parkland.