What is the story about the Greenspace? Intermittently, houses along Brushy Creek flooded during heavy periods of rain. Greenville County finally decided to remove the houses and relocate the residents. So, slowly but surely, families were bought out of their properties at fair market value, or their house was moved to another location. Residents who were concerned about what would become of the empty lots first met on May 21, 2009 to discuss how to bring both Kingsgate and Wellington Green residents together on issues that affected the community with respect to the empty lots. At the same time, Greenville County was coming up with their master plan for the area, assisted by $1,400 in grant money for each lot. Their idea was to plant trees… lots of them. In June, residents met with Bob Taylor, County Councilman for the area, and his recommendation was to have Wellington Green form a community Co-Op and to use the existing structure in Kingsgate for neighborhood communication as ways to work with the County. Meetings began with the county in August 2009.
In September 2009, Wellington Green Recreation Association (WGRA) became the “community Co-Op” voice and set up a committee to manage the Greenspace and this was the beginning of GreenGate. The group would lease the lots from the county for $1 each for a 20-year lease. Thanks to a chance meeting of a Kingsgate resident and a Greenville County Recreation District employee responsible for the Swamp Rabbit Trail, Greengate procured a grant from the National Parks Service, Rivers Trails & Conservation Assistance (NPS) program to provide technical assistance to the community, awarded in October 2009. NPS showed Greengate how to poll the residents and find out how the space could best meet the various needs of the neighborhood residents.
Because a 501(c)(3) was desired for the Greenspace, the Greengate committee of WGRA formed its own organization. That is how the Greengate Community Initiative, or GCI was formed. WGRA holds the leases for the property and GCI maintains the property. The County commits to mowing two times a year; but we’ve only seen them a handful of times since 2009. Greenville County has been very supportive of GCI’s work and assists with such projects as replacing the Bridgeport bridge with a bridge and walking path, removing large dead trees, repairs to the culvert that exploded during the August 2014 flood and most all of the requests GCI has made to them that require big equipment.
In reality, we do not get two mowings a year from the county. We have a segment of residents who love the wild flowers in the spring, and another segment of residents who are not happy with the snakes and other animals that inhabit tall grass. There’s no way to keep everyone happy when GCI mows. GCI loves trying to provide ways to connect neighbors and has done so in the past by having neighbors working alongside neighbors to spruce up the space at designated times. Events like the Wine & Walk, the Beer Crawl, Trick or Trail, 4th of July Celebrations, Easter Egg hunts and more family-friendly events have taken place in this space in the past.
Please support the Greenspace! If it could be a park tomorrow, that would be wonderful. But that’s not the reality. An unfortunate example of what the County did in the Del Norte neighborhood with houses suffering the same flooding can can be found behind the Pavillion off E. North St. where the county has not leased the lots back to the neighborhood and maintains the land. We in GCI want a beautiful park for our residents and that takes a lot of sweat equity. Come invest some sweat! Every little bit helps and moves us closer to the goal of a beautiful park with plenty to do for years to come. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how YOU can help!