“We don’t have time to do all the things, but we have time to do things right,” said Greenville Chamber of Commerce CEO and President Carlos Phillips at the annual Legislative breakfast event on Friday.
The chamber shared its 2023 Policy Agenda and Advocacy Guide, which explains the county’s priority initiatives in three key points for the upcoming year.
- Meet our growth opportunities: Greenville County needs an estimated $1 billion in road construction revenue over the next 10 years. The county council plans to pass a Unified Development Ordinance to modernize land use and zoning throughout the county and “put teeth” into the county’s comprehensive plan. This includes establishing a sustainable and substantial local funding source for overburdened roads and other key infrastructure. Another need pinpointed is to continue “aggressively seeking funds to modernize” the county’s wastewater system, tackling the decades of neglect and decay.
- Boost economic development: This includes ensuring the completion of the Greenville Downtown Convention Center and creating a long-term plan for the existing convention center in addition to changing the city and county’s perceptions of traditional industrial recruitment and creating a unified strategy across manufacturing, knowledge-based businesses and major capital expenditures to enhance quality of life.
- Expand economic opportunity: This includes removing barriers and providing new local incentives to develop workforce and affordable housing projects, driving business growth and economic prosperity by addressing race-based disparities in education, income and health. According to the chamber’s report, 5.4% of children in lowest income households reach top 20% income at age 35. Another need is significantly increasing local operations funding to expand Greenlink transit service under the terms of its long-term development plan considering an estimated $15.3 million in additional operating funds will be needed by 2028 to complete Greenlink TDP.
An estimated 220,000 people will move to Greenville County by 2040, according to the agenda, which is a 40% spike in population from 2020, with job growth at 19.3% between 2020 and 2040, which is above the estimated 15.4% U.S. percentage of growth.
“We must act now to address critical needs with infrastructure, education, housing and health care before they become significant economic challenges,” the agenda said.