Furman University now located in Travelers Rest - FOX Carolina 21

Furman University now located in Travelers Rest

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Furman University is officially within the city of Travelers Rest. (File/FOX Carolina) Furman University is officially within the city of Travelers Rest. (File/FOX Carolina)

When thinking of Furman University, many think of Greenville. Thursday night, all that changed. It's time to think Travelers Rest.

In a much anticipated unanimous vote, Travelers Rest City Council annexed Furman. The town hopes the school's high profile can help attract economic development.

Just before the council members voted, Mayor Wayne McCall said to Furman President Rod Smolla, "We got you, and we're not going to let you go."

This annexation has been a long time coming, and the council, the school and local businesses are all very excited.

"I don't think that there's anything that we could actually say that would be any larger of an event for the city of Travelers Rest," said McCall, as he handed a plaque and the proverbial key to the city to Smolla.

McCall called the annexation "historic."

It's something that Travelers Rest shop owners, like Tim Dover at the Carolina Honey Bee Company, have been buzzing about.

"Furman being a part of Travelers Rest will help T.R. become a larger draw for tourism, definitely help with name recognition across the country. T.R. goes from being a sleepy little town to being a town with a wonderful university that serves thousands of families from all over the world," said Dover.

His store opened last fall and is one of many new businesses on Main Street.

He said honey and beekeeping products have been flying off his shelves as Swamp Rabbit Trail walkers and bikers stop by.

Nancy McCarrell and her sister own the Café at William's Hardware. She said everyone in her family went to Furman, and they've lived in Travelers Rest since 1760.

McCarrell gives the Swamp Rabbit Trail credit for putting her small town on the map. She thinks the annexation will not only add name recognition, but get Furman students and families more involved in Travelers Rest.

She saw over the years, the Furman students and parents were often heading toward Greenville to explore, instead of Travelers Rest. McCarrell realizes that up until the last few years, there wasn't much in Travelers Rest. But now, with new restaurants, shops and events, her town has plenty to offer. She hopes that with Furman's name attached, more people will see it, too.

"I think suddenly Travelers Rest is going to wake up and go, 'Mmm! This is great!'" McCarrell said.

With the annexation, Furman will get fire services from the city, as well as backup police and other city services.

Travelers Rest leaders are excited for not only a bit of extra cash, which will come from a fee from the school, business licenses and utilities taxes, but also, the ability to say that Furman and its population are in their city. With that, the city hopes to attract more and bigger companies, and eventually annex areas between the city and the school, too.

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