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Spartanburg Community College makes highway a ‘spot of pride’

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Spartanburg Community College has a new sign along Business I-85, and has adopted an intersection to beautify and maintain. But the work is about more than putting on a new face for the college.

“This is more than a sign for Spartanburg Community College. I see it as a sign that welcomes people to Spartanburg and to the college; it has a joint meaning,” said SCC President Henry Giles, in a news release.

Giles told GSA Business Report there had been community interest for several years to clean up the area around the entrance to the college and the intersection of Business 85 and New Cut Road.

“As long as 10 years ago people were suggesting the college was not presenting the best image and suggested we should take down the fence that was put up in the 1950s,” Giles said. “And there had been little to no maintenance to or around the fencing.”

Spartanburg Community College and its partners — Spartanburg Water and Livesay Correctional Institution — cleaned up the area, and were recently awarded a Spot of Pride designation in recognition of the beautification initiatives at the interchange.

“Hans Balmer took on Spots of Pride at intersections along 85. It started about 10 to 15 years ago and continues today,” Giles said.

Balmer was a community volunteer who created the idea of individual companies adopting an intersection for planting, maintenance and beautification. Each area is designated as a Spot of Pride. The program is a public, private partnership for the beautification of Spartanburg.

“My brother in law, Hans Balmer, is the one who started the Spot of Pride program, so he would be very excited about what’s going on here today,” said Monty Mullen, Spot of Pride program chairman, in a statement. “I believe this collaboration is exactly what this county needs, and I look forward to working with President Giles and others on future projects.”

Since 2015, local business and community leaders have partnered to improve and revitalize Business 85, a busy thoroughfare that connects business and industry in Spartanburg County and the city of Spartanburg. The eight-mile stretch of freeway serves the Spartanburg County communities of Fairforest, Johnson City, Lone Oak, the Spartanburg Community College central campus and the University of South Carolina Upstate.

Conversations between Giles and the Spartanburg County Council opened the door to working with the Spartanburg Water System, which resulted in a partnership that included adding the SCC logo to the water system’s water tank.

John Montgomery, CEO of Montgomery Development Group and chairman of the Commissioners of Public Works for the city of Spartanburg, said he hopes the work will continue and that private and public funds can be leveraged to beautify all gateways into Spartanburg.

“This beautification effort is important because it will enhance our gateways and instill a sense of pride in our community,” he said in a statement. “New companies that are considering an investment in Spartanburg and traveling through will see that we care about our community and that we have a sense of pride.”

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