New Washington Heights neighborhood continues pushback, as Greenlink facility takes shape

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 10:57 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - For years now, residents in the historically Black New Washington Heights neighborhood have been pushing against the construction of a Greenlink bus maintenance facility.

Construction for the project is already underway but neighbors aren’t backing out of the fight. They’re also demanding answers from Greenville County Council about why a plan to revitalize the community never happened.

“I see those bulldozers and I’m not wavering,” said Angela Aiken, a long term New Washington Heights resident and Neighborhood Association leader.

Years before bulldozers sat at the entrance of her community, she and her neighbor’s were looking forward to change.

“We were promised a lot of stuff by the county,” she said, referring to a 2013 neighborhood master plan.

It details a neighborhood revitalization. Including streetscape improvements, low-income housing, home renovations, and trials. Aiken says after the council adopted it, residents were told the county was waiting for funding.

“We waited and waited and waited, but behind closed doors, there was another deal brewing,” she said.

Aiken feels the county’s decision to give away the land for Greenlink’s bus facility, violated the plan.

“Whenever you go to binding stuff that you put on paper, it’s like a contract. And we felt like our contract was broken” she said.

Now, the area they thought might be a park,  a hard hat zone. We asked, and the county says community plans are guiding documents and recommendations outlined in the plan, can be done with or without county assistance. However, Aiken feels the neighborhood’s needs and desires–then and now-- continue to be ignored.

“It just feels like somebody just set the house on fire. You know, and you don’t have anywhere to go. You know, being at home should be the safest place in the world to anybody. When they go home, they ought to be safe, they feel safe, they’ll feel secure. I don’t feel secure” said Aiken.

The New Washington Heights Neighborhood Association has teamed up with the Justice Intervention Initiative calling for an economic blockade against the city of Greenville. Aiken says the organization is also seeking an attorney to pursue legal action to stop construction of the bus facility.