Three Spartanburg communities hosting joint meeting to discuss future plans

Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 10:42 PM EST
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - For the first time ever, three Spartanburg leaders are teaming up to better their neighborhoods. Rather it’s housing, funding, or resources—the community leaders are trying to help each other.

Northside, Highland and the three neighborhoods that make-up Southside, are three historic Spartanburg communities. Over the years they’ve faced some of the same challenges and overcame similar hurdles. Now they’re plan is to take control of what the future has in store.

“We were just standing on the campus of Wofford, and we said, you know something, we need to come together,” said Tony Thomas, the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Northside Development Group.

“Knowledge should be shared, not kept. so, anything that I know, I’m willing to share with Highland, I’m willing to share it with the Southside” he said.

12 years ago Thomas’ Northside community was challenged by blight. Since then, they’ve been able to turn it around, now he’s ready to help others.

“I realized that I needed mentors,” said Toni Sutton. Sutton is the chair of Southside Sankofa and a new leader in the South Converse neighborhood. Her biggest concern is how gentrification might impact her Historically Black Neighborhood.

“We’re experiencing a lot of growth in Spartanburg and as you know, Southside is the closest thing to downtown,” said Sutton.

For some, there’s fear of the wrong type of change and for others there’s concern about no change at all.

“It sits, just about in the center of the city, the heart of the city,” said Wilma Moore about the Highland neighborhood.

Moore grew up in Highland. She says the neighborhood has suffered from lack of investment, now they’re working on a master plan. The three communities are teaming up—to advocate for, learn from and help each other.

On Saturday February 11th, they’re inviting their community members into the conversation. They’ll be hosting a joint meeting starting at 11am at the C.C. Woodson Community Center. Residents are invited to give input.

“It’s not just our voice. We’ve got to have the voice of the community behind us saying, okay, this is what we want” said Sutton.

It’s for things all three communities need, and also how they want their futures to look.

“I want an ecosystem,” said Sutton.

“[In the future, Northside] looks like a healthy community, self-sustaining,” said Thomas.

“A safe vibrant community like it once was with businesses back, the community pride back and families back, children playing on the lawn that’s my vision” said Moore about the Highland Community’s future.