“One thing about local politics is you can solve problems and you can feel satisfied of solving problems, or at least making progress on it,” George Fletcher says. And even before becoming the city’s at-large councilman, Fletcher took on Greenville’s growth and community issues. He owned his engineering firm, chaired the chamber of commerce, chaired the committee that brought Fluor Field, coordinated the Greenville Vision 2025 process and more. Fletcher and his wife Sarah live on Rock Creek Drive.

Most notable council accomplishments

  • Unity Park is in motion: “I was the vote that swung Public Works that the mayor wanted so bad … We had to get Public Works moved in order for the park to move ahead.”
  • Established Housing Trust Fund (led Finance & Economic Development committee): “We created the Housing Trust plan. That’s three and a half million [dollars] and the mechanism to go forward on affordable housing.”
  • Public transit funding increased: “We quadrupled the expenditures for public transportation. We got the grant to rebuild the maintenance shop. And we got four electric buses capital.”

What’s next?

Find innovative approaches to affordable housing

  • Incentivize developers: “The idea is the developers can make a whole lot more money out of high-end housing than they can low-income housing. And so the idea is to provide the buck in the form of land or the form of incentives or loans. So we got [the] Housing Trust Fund that we can give that land to and they can leverage it.”
  • Incorporate “Missing Middle” Housing: “There are all kinds of other stuff going on around the country: container homes, [mini] homes, tiny homes. I just read an article the other day about a company in Austin, that’s 3D printing a 350-square-foot home in 24 hours, and now they’re working on 2,000 square foot. There are all kinds of new ways of doing things … Carriage houses, permanent garages, that sort of thing. We really do need to loosen up our standards on that because there is a great way to intermix affordable housing with market-rate housing.”
  • Identify the affordable housing range: “But I just think there’s much broader [range]. I think it’s not just the 30% problem, it is the workforce. It’s the whole range. And we really need new solutions.”

Address gentrification Unity Park will bring

“For example, we got that whole strip along the south side at Unity Park … You can make zoning overlays and you can protect it for mixed-income housing … There are a lot of people that own houses there. And by increasing rent, they’re essentially pushing them now.”

Keep the focus on public transit

“There is more affordable housing just outside the city than there is in the city. And so the transportation needs to be a key part of that.”

Smart city initiatives can help tackle traffic concerns

  • “And I think one of the things I’ve been working on a lot in the last four years and I’m truly passionate about is a smart city initiative, because I believe it’s going to change almost everything we’re doing. But one of the impacts will be on traffic and congestion.”
  • “One of the things you’ll see real soon, in fact we’ve began to implement it now, is [the] centralized control of traffic signals.”
  • “The next step is going to be cool: cameras that read the cars. They [the cameras] know if there’s no cross traffic or if there’s very little cross traffic, you adjust your signal accordingly.”

Bring corporate HQs to Greenville

“There was US Shelter, Liberty and Daniel, those companies, the headquarters are no longer here. The textile mills are no longer here. So I think we’ve lost some economic churn … I think that that we need a specific corporate regional headquarters strategy. It brings high quality jobs and brings public-private partnerships.”

To learn more about George Fletcher, go to https://votegeorgefletcher.com/.

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