In an article published on Jan. 7, 2021, the Greenville Journal asked readers if Greenville County is up to the challenge of protecting our natural resources. The answer to that question is no, an answer that was unfortunately made clear in the last days of June, when Greenville County Council voted on the fiscal year 2021-2022 budget with no money included for the Historic and Natural Resources Trust.
In December, those of us who find value in our region’s natural resources and historical assets celebrated County Council’s unanimous approval of the Greenville County Historic and Natural Resources Trust ordinance. This forward-thinking vote illustrated council members’ united support for protecting green spaces and historic places that make living in Greenville County so unique and special.
Council immediately appointed a 12-member board of volunteer residents who have met repeatedly to create a structure and objective criteria for deploying and leveraging resources to accomplish the goals outlined in the county’s ordinance.
You can imagine all of our disappointment when the FY 2021-2022 budget included zero funding for this work. A proposed amendment to the budget for $1 million for the Trust failed at third and final reading with a 6-6 division among council members. Why would County Council unanimously approve a program, appoint 12 busy residents to the board, and then fail to provide even one penny to it?
To council members Tripp, Ballard, Kirven, Seman, Dill, and Harrison, thank you for your vote to fund the Greenville County Historic and Natural Resources Trust.
Chairman Meadows and Council members Shaw, Norris, Tzouvelekas, Barnes, and Fant, please reconsider your votes against funding the Trust. Greenville County is growing rapidly. Without protection, the special places our families cherish, the natural areas that bring us calm, and the beautiful sites that continue to draw so many new neighbors to the area will cease to exist. County Council, please be a voice for your constituents who want to keep the “green” in Greenville.
Melissa Anderson, Greenville Coalition for Greenspace