The city of Greenville began demolishing its former Public Works campus this week, at the corner of Mayberry and Hudson streets, marking the beginning of construction of the 60-acre Unity Park, according to a news release.
Also this week, the city announced that the Michelin Corporate Foundation will be a sponsor of Unity Park. Michelin joins Auro Hotels, which is sponsoring the Auro Bridge; Synnex Corp., which is sponsoring the Synnex Share the Magic Playground; the Community Foundation of Greenville; and the TD Charitable Foundation as announced partners of the park. In addition, local businessman Wayne Trotter has donated land adjacent to the park to the Greenville Housing Fund for affordable housing, the release said.
“Unity Park is a transformative public-private partnership that will create affordable housing for hundreds of families and build a park where the children who live in the surrounding neighborhoods can play with children from across our community,” Greenville Mayor Knox White said in the release. “Unity Park will be a park where everyone feels welcome.”
To date, private funding and grant awards total $6 million for the project that involves rehabilitation of a half-mile stretch of the Reedy River, restoration of Mayberry Park built in 1927 and construction of playgrounds, a pedestrian bridge, gathering hall and visitor center, the release said. The city has committed $28 million of tourism-generated taxes, $5 million in storm water funds and $2.3 million in utility line burial money toward the $40 million first phase of the park scheduled to open in 2021.
The city has dedicated land it owns in the nearby Southernside neighborhood for affordable housing through the Greenville Housing Fund, in which it has contributed $3.5 million with another $1 million in funding in fiscal year 2020, according to the release.
“Cities around the country are working to create open green space and striving to overcome the threat of gentrification,” White said in the release. “Greenville is taking steps to create a bulwark against these market forces to ensure that nearby residents who live in the neighborhoods surrounding the park can stay in their homes.”