Community Visit to Greenville, South Carolina
Inter-city visits create an opportunity for West Tennessee leaders to engage in meaningful dialogue and generate innovative ideas from peer cities.
Jackson, Tenn. Oct. 31, 2022 - Greenville, S.C., has earned scores of accolades lately and is often named a “must-see destination.” But before it staged its great comeback, this city of 72,000 struggled with significant blight and poverty in its downtown. Yet today, the city is a bustling center for tourism and is also attracting new residents at a record pace.
To better prepare for the growth associated with BlueOval City, the Jackson Chamber organized a delegation of 33 members from Jackson and West Tennessee, representing local public and private entities. The group recently spent three days touring the city and surrounding areas to get a look behind Greenville’s success.
During the visit, the group toured BMW, visited the Center for Manufacturing Innovation, toured downtown and met with Greer’s mayor, Greenville’s mayor, as well as local economic development, affordable housing and parks representatives.
“The City of Greenville is somewhat similar to Jackson in terms of its population size, so it was very interesting to see the challenges they overcame and the approaches they took in revitalizing their downtown,” said Kyle Spurgeon, president and CEO of the Jackson Chamber.
Much of the city’s success can also be attributed to its collaboration with major employers in the region, such as BMW Group and Clemson and Furman universities and public-private partnerships fueling its revitalization and growth.
The challenge the city faces now is to ensure it remains affordable and desirable for those who live and work there and to recognize the impact of gentrification on the community. Greenville is working to preserve its existing affordable units while also acquiring property to support the production of new workforce housing.
“Much of what we learned was the need for vision, foresight and patience,” said Jake Bynum, Weakley County Mayor. “We need to think about where we want our individual communities and West Tennessee to be in 10-20 years.”
Alex Reed, City of Jackson
Alyson Fite, Nest Realty Jackson
Beth Ann Simpson, Jackson Downtown Development
Beth Koffman, West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation
Claire Pierson, City of Jackson
Darrell King, West Tennessee Healthcare
Haley Wildridge, West Tennessee Healthcare Foundation
Jackie Taylor, West Tennessee Healthcare
Jeff Blankenship, West Tennessee Healthcare
Jill Taylor, Master Medical Equipment
Joe Barker, Southwest Tennessee Development District
Joey Hale, Town & Country Realtors
Kathy Watts, Horne
Katie Hale, Town & Country Realtors
Kyle Spurgeon, Jackson Chamber
Lindsay Dawkins, Jackson Chamber
Matt Marshall, United Way
Mayor AJ Massey, Madison County
Mayor Jake Bynum, Weakley County
Melissa Spurgeon, Jackson Madison-County School System
Monica Heath, McKenzie Chamber
Monique Merriweather, Brownsville Chamber
Olivia Abernathy, United Way
Paul Taylor, Gary A. Taylor Investment Company
Roger Smith, Thompson & Smith
Ryan Porter, Jackson Chamber
Tina Prescott, West Tennessee Healthcare
Tonia Howell, Arlington Chamber
Tony Black, City of Jackson
Vanessa Patrick, West Tennessee Healthcare
Vicki Bunch, Jackson Chamber