As Judson Mill opens new Hub, we look at how mill revitalization impacts surrounding communities
GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - The Judson Mill District held a grand opening Thursday for what they’re calling the Jud Hub. It will offer meeting and gathering space for nonprofits and organizations. It’s just one more step on a long mill revitalization project.
Developers say the Jud Hub is a space for organizations made to help the community surrounding it.
“We’d love to be able to help the Judson Mill neighborhood in particular, where over 40% of the residents live in poverty,” said Judson Mill Development partner, Matt Springer.
The revitalization project is 7 years in the making and developers are only halfway through. It’s one of several mill re-purpose projects in Greenville.
“Rather than put walls up around the community, we’re inviting the neighborhood into the community,” said Springer.
They also offer workforce housing units, a small grocer and soon retail and restaurants.
“Eventually, one day all the mills that can be repurposed will be repurposed” said Dr. Ken Kolb with Furman University.
Kolb has studied the impact of revitalization in Greenville. Most recently releasing a study on Racial Displacement in Greenville. Kolb says while these upgraded mills breathe life into underserved communities—revitalization can come at a cost.
“All these things are great, but we also need to recognize that as we revitalize the mills, we’re going to make them attractive places to live, work and play,” he said.
In their prime, mill villages shut out Black families, by putting racially restrictive covenants into property deeds. Then in the 80s, when the mill industry slowed down, property values dropped, opening the door for Black families.
“But now they’re being revitalized and repurposed, they’re driving up property values in the surrounding neighborhoods, and effectively pricing out current residents,” said Kolb.
While mill revitalization helps meet housing demands for many. Some of the same Black families who sought haven, are at risk of displacement.
“The most efficient way to increase new housing is to take advantage of the easiest opportunities, but we just have to be mindful of who it is we want to benefit from this type of revitalization” Kolb said.
To learn more about the Judson Mill efforts to serve the surrounding community click here. And to read Furman’s recent study on Racial Displacement in Greenville visit https://www.communitygvl.org/
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