What’s next for Morgan Square? New committee will make plans

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 10:46 PM EDT
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Spartanburg city leaders are looking at ways to improve Morgan square. The park on Main Street has been closed off from traffic for two years now-- but that was only supposed to be temporary.

They changed it to make accommodations during the pandemic when indoor dining wasn’t allowed. But many people like it that way, and now they want to keep it. A new committee is supposed to figure out. There are a lot of opinions, but not many answers just yet.

“For the food industry. I mean, I feel like it’s been absolutely incredible” said Molly Love, General Manager for The Tulip Tree restaurant.

Instead of cars lining Morgan square, it’s been tables and people. For some, it’s great for business.

“People everywhere, families, children, dogs, you see the same faces over and over again. so, it really is a community” said Love.

“It’s the living room of our city,” said Christopher George, the City of Spartanburg Communications manager.

Now, city leaders want to make the living room better.

“What kind of enhancements to Morgan Square can be made to make it more of a pedestrian friendly space?’ he said.

This week, leaders voted to form a team tasked with figuring out the answer to that question. The 13-member committee is made up of local business owners, staff from city planning, local architects, the mayor and city council chairman.

“Some of them are very passionate about it and others just have expertise that’s helpful in a lot of ways,” said George.

Not only will the committee gauge public opinion, they’ll be working alongside a design firm the city is hiring to create concepts for Morgan Square. What they come up with will determine how much money the city will spend.

“You could be talking about, you know, several $100,000′s and then maybe there’s some folks who might want to see more extensive renovations that would maybe cost several million dollars instead.” said George.

Ideas floating around have been opening the park with less gardens and greenery, as well ditching the roadway and laying bricks.

“I think that’d be absolutely beautiful. I even like dripping lights over the entire street over the paving” said Love.

Some retail shops have expressed concern about fewer parking spots on W. Main Street, interfering with their business.

“It’s actually a pretty wide-ranging set of opinions,” said George.

The expectation is for the committee to work for about 6 to 12 months to come up with a proposal. They’ll present that to city council then council has the final say in what happens next. Soon they’ll be holding public input meetings.

We’ll keep you updated on when those start.

Members of the Morgan Square Redevelopment Committee are:

• Committee Chair: Halsey Cook, CEO Milliken & Co.

• Raj Patel, Co-owner Cribbs Restaurant & Main St. Pub

• Betsy Teter, Founder Hub City Press

• Tori James LeRoy, Co-owner Two Doors Down

clothing store

• Lauren Rogers, City Design Review Board Member

• Jamar Brown, City Planning Commissioner

• Brenda Lee Pryce

• Alex Powell, Johnson Development

• John Bauknight

• William Gray, McMillan Pazdan Smith Architects

• Jack McBride, Founder and Chairman, Contec, Inc.

• Ex Officio: Jerome Rice, Jr., Mayor

• Ex Officio: Manning Lynch, County Council Chair