Community provides feedback on Wade Hampton Boulevard redevelopment

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The city portion of Wade Hampton Boulebard runs from downtown to North Pleasantburg Drive. Will Crooks/Greenville Journal

Bookended by the new NorthPointe mixed-use development and Bob Jones University, Wade Hampton Boulevard’s corridor into the city possesses great potential for growth. It’s a gateway to downtown Greenville and serves nine connecting neighborhoods.

The city of Greenville planned a four-day public input process to obtain community feedback on how to improve the corridor. The input process began on Tuesday, May 29, with an open studio at City Hall and a public meeting at Bob Jones University later that evening.

“Wade Hampton Boulevard is showing signs of growth and change,” Mayor Knox White said. “This is an opportunity for neighbors and business owners to help shape the future of the corridor.”

As part of U.S. Highway 29, Wade Hampton has average daily traffic of about 25,000 on that 2-mile span, according to a study conducted by the city.

Arnett Muldrow & Associates, a Greenville-based consulting firm, was hired to aid in the Wade Hampton plan. In addition to city staff and consultant team members, the project team includes Tom McGilloway and Andy Kalback with Mahan Rykiel Associates, Randy Wilson with Community Design Solutions, and Eric Dillon with Infrastructure Consulting & Engineering.

“We are honored to work with the city leadership and community stakeholders on this plan that will provide creative solutions that are both practical and inspiring for the future of Wade Hampton Boulevard,” said Tripp Muldrow of Arnett Muldrow & Associates, who’s lived most of his life within blocks of the boulevard.

Within the next five years, stakeholders want to see improvements on side streets such as Chick Springs Road, the ability to safely cross Wade Hampton on foot or bike, and possibly added stoplights at busy intersections, such as White Oak Drive.

Limiting drive time while allowing for crosswalks and bike lanes, and maintaining affordable commercial rent and residential housing in the area, are also ideal.

Living in Dellwood, Jeff Nance wants more walkability. “I’d like to see ease of getting across Wade Hampton and getting to Wade Hampton, possibly without a car.”

Another community member, Bob Fannin, would like the boulevard “to be more of a community where people want to go and stay instead of like Woodruff Road where you go and shop, shop, shop, but where you feel comfortable.”

People expressed a desire for landscaping, beautification, and lighting at the pedestrian level. Community members suggested re-establishing speed limits along the boulevard, as well as setting design standards for aesthetic coordination.

“From 2011 to 2013, the city of Greenville installed decorative streetlights and planted more than 250 trees along Wade Hampton Boulevard in an effort to stimulate redevelopment,” said city councilwoman Amy Ryberg-Doyle.

The city has invested $2.8 million in public improvements associated with NorthPointe, including road improvements, mast arm traffic signals, pedestrian amenities, sidewalks, landscaping, and decorative lighting.

“The boulevard should feature large trees and aesthetically pleasing entryways into the surrounding neighborhoods and city parks,” Ryberg-Doyle said. “It should highlight neighborhood commercial nodes, where locally owned businesses can prosper. And it should be designed for people, not only cars.”

The main challenge exists in motivating those traveling along Wade Hampton to stay and see what the boulevard has to offer rather than quickly passing through.

“We are looking to our consultants to provide recommendations for how to create more commercial nodes along the corridor where people can spend time shopping and dining at local businesses and gathering as a community,” said Tracy Ramseur, senior economic development project manager for Greenville.

The plan for Wade Hampton Boulevard is expected to be released in August.

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