In the future, residents hope to see downtown Greenwood with more crosswalks, where shoppers and residents could cross streets to get to a bookstore, antique shops and restaurants that are unique to their city.
And traffic would be rerouted, while keeping the historic buildings and features that residents love about the downtown.
About 80 residents came to a meeting this week to discuss what they want to be done in downtown Greenwood. City government hosted the meeting so residents could tell the city’s consultant, HWC Engineering, what they cared about preserving in Old Town and what changes are important to them. The company is developing an overall revitalization plan for downtown.
Next, the city plans to pursue state grants that would pay to rebuild the facades of historic buildings near Main Street and Madison Avenue. The suggestions residents proposed, including resolving downtown traffic issues, new bike and pedestrian trails, and keeping chain restaurants out, will be used as HWC Engineering works with the city to create a redevelopment plan. HWC will begin to present designs at a public meeting in September.
Residents also discussed buildings downtown that need improvements. The city plans to apply for a state grant next year. About 30 properties would be considered for facade fixes, including repairs to bricks and renovating the fronts of historic buildings to better resemble what they originally looked like.
An office building built in 1870 that belongs to attorney Eric Risk, at 200 S. Madison Ave., and vacant buildings on Madison Avenue would be among the ones considered.
Owner Timothy Burk wants his building at 330 W. Main St. near Market Plaza to have its exterior repaired to fit the pre-1930 period it was built in, he said.
“I’ve been a southside resident all my life, and I really like the building and I like downtown. I see nothing but positive change coming from all this,” Burk said.
The traffic downtown was a main concern for residents.
Residents want wider sidewalks and improved traffic flow on Main Street, but they can’t have both and keep the old buildings, said Cory Whitesell, with HWC Engineering.
So the city wants to know what residents want the most, Whitesell said.
He asked residents to decide if they want downtown to become more modern, with multi-use buildings that have parking garages, stores and apartments, or if they want the new buildings to match the style of the old buildings.
Residents also could suggest what they want the focal point of downtown to be — which could be the creek, which could be turned into more of a linear park, or be developed with businesses along it, Whitesell said. Other options would be turning a street into a pedestrian mall and rerouting traffic entirely or widening the sidewalks and narrowing the streets, he said.
Resident Jerry Brown said he would like to see Market Plaza developed as a farmers market and small shops, and he wants trails to be added along the creek.
“I’m hoping it can be redeveloped to be more pleasurable for people,” he said.
Keeping the old buildings and the amphitheater, which is behind the community center, where musicians perform outdoor concerts, are important, resident JoAnn Benek said.
“They’re part of the charm of Greenwood,” she said.