Chad Lawson, Director of Communications at Renewable Water Resources
Clean water and a thriving natural environment are two of the primary hallmarks of any successful community. Ensuring that these needs are not compromised during periods of rapid growth requires not just vision and discipline but careful, coordinated planning and precise execution.
All of us at ReWa understand that we play a critical role as both an environmental steward and a driver of economic development and growth. One of ReWa’s and, in fact, Greenville’s most ambitious and significant infrastructure projects, DIG Greenville, is an excellent example of how strategic planning and innovation meet to deliver great results.
As part of its ongoing efforts to employ cutting-edge technology to keep Greenville poised for what comes next, ReWa began construction on this multi-year wastewater conveyance tunnel project in 2018. This project aims to safely and efficiently revitalize our wastewater infrastructure in the growing Greenville community for the next 100 years.
Administered by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s State Revolving Fund Section and partially funded through the United States Environmental Protection Agency, DIG Greenville will alleviate the risk of overflows in Greenville’s wastewater collection system during peak events. It will also provide additional storage and capacity during wet weather to ensure future projected capacity needs. Evidenced by the numerous cranes and construction you see in Greenville, we are growing at an unprecedented pace. Without this critical project, capacity, or the availability in the pipes to add additional wastewater flows, would be minimal, limiting growth opportunities in our community.
As part of our stewardship efforts, we sought a solution for growing capacity needs that would minimize disruption to the area and its residents and provide the best long-term solution, so the idea for the tunnel was born. With digging recently completed , DIG Greenville’s tunnel is approximately 11 feet in diameter and nearly 6,000 feet long and will house a 7-foot diameter fiberglass reinforced carrier pipe. Wastewater will enter the diversion structure and drop shaft at Riley Street (near the Kroc Center) and flow underground to the downstream ending in Cleveland Park, where the new tunnel will connect with the existing system.
As the excavation phase concludes, work will shift to installing and connecting the pipe inside the tunnel, followed by restoring and landscaping both tunnel construction sites. The project is on track to be completed in May of 2021.
Here are some key statistics on ReWa, the project, and its impact:
- Each day ReWa cleans and returns more than 40 million gallons of water to area waterways.
- We operate nine water resource recovery facilities (WRRF) and more than 352 miles of pipe, and are responsible for wastewater treatment and collection services for a broad geographic area, including Greenville County and portions of Anderson, Laurens, Pickens, and Spartanburg Counties.
- ReWa has worked closely with various governmental and economic development entities on this project, even partnering with the Greenville Zoo to ensure the safety and well-being of any animals who might have been impacted by early blasting.
- In the spirit of complete transparency, we have distributed numerous updates and bulletins to area residents regarding the DIG project and hosted 14 “Sippin’ with Steve” public events to inform and update the public at every step of the process.
- The massive tunnel boring machine (TBM) used to dig under the city journeyed from Cleveland Park and will surface at the prepared site on Westfield Street near the Kroc Center. On its way, this huge and incredibly powerful machine bored through solid granite and crossed underneath the Reedy River twice.
- The tunnel boring machine began mining under the city in January 2020 and completed its work within the last few weeks.
- The total tunnel footage is 5,928 feet with a maximum depth of 120 feet, and the machine has operated at a production rate – 6.6 feet/hour (31.2 feet/day) and excavated more than 20,000 cubic yards of rock, which ReWa will use on future construction projects.
- The project is expected to be completed on-budget with no cost overruns.
While it’s not typically considered glamorous, having the necessary supporting infrastructure in place is the most critical factor in our area’s ability to support its incredible rate of growth. DIG Greenville has been embraced and celebrated by community groups, environmental organizations, economic development agencies, and government leaders alike and is evidence of ReWa’s commitment to meeting the needs of our community head-on and envisioning and driving a better for future us all. Simply put, we live here, too, and we will always do what is in the best interest of Greenville and the Upstate.
We look forward to sharing more exciting news on DIG Greenville soon. Please visit www.diggreenville.org for updates and additional information.
Scott Carr, VP, Commercial Business & Communications, GSP Airport District
Much has changed since my last update on April 21, 2020. At that time, the significant changes to the aviation industry and how we travel were just beginning to be realized. At the Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport (GSP), we were actively modifying the airport’s operation to acclimate to the new and continually evolving environment.
During April 2020, passenger traffic at GSP decreased by 96% compared to the same month in 2019. In response, airlines swiftly canceled flights to adapt to the decreased passenger demand. Restaurant and retail operations that were initially consolidated to our Grand Hall for passenger convenience were later closed or had their operating hours reduced. The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck, Vino Volo – Market Bar, DC3 Hot Dogs, Chick-fil-A, Thomas Creek Grill, RJ Rockers Flight Room, the Escape Lounge, Palmetto Distillery, and the Hudson retail stores on each concourse were all closed.
Since the airport is considered critical essential infrastructure, GSP had to remain fully operational and ready to serve the passenger, cargo, general aviation, and military needs of the region regardless of the level of consumer demand. So, it was imperative that we found a way to remain fully operational while absorbing significant losses in revenue and activity. To meet the call, the Airport District enacted significant measures to conserve funds and assist our airlines and business partners during this difficult time.
To ensure the highest level of safety for our customers, Airport District staff and our business partners implemented “Prepare for Takeoff”, which is a comprehensive communications program designed to encourage passenger safety and to stem the spread of the coronavirus at GSP. The program included the wearing of facial coverings in the terminal building, enhanced cleaning procedures, the installation of Plexiglass shields at ticket counters and gates, the installation of social distancing stickers throughout the terminal building, increased signage, additional hand sanitizing stations, and more.
Now, nearly six months into the pandemic, we are beginning to see some signs of recovery. Passenger traffic has steadily increased and we are now carrying about 35% of our pre-pandemic passenger traffic. While far from the record-setting activity we anticipated in the beginning of the year, volume at GSP is outpacing the national average and many similar-sized airports across the U.S.
In September 2020, the Vino Volo – Market Bar re-opened in the Grand Hall. In December 2020, we plan to reopen two additional restaurants including Chick-fil-A and The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck. We are also optimistic that a new restaurant concept to replace DC3 Hot Dogs may be opened during the first half of 2021; allowing even more choices for dining at GSP.
GSP has been fortunate to retain nearly all of its pre-pandemic air service access. While the number of daily flights has been reduced, we are confident that we will see nearly all our nonstop destinations restored in early 2021. In fact, as airlines rebuild their route networks, we have been busy suggesting new route opportunities from GSP. Based on some discussions last week, these efforts appear to be paying off, as we anticipate announcing one or two new nonstop destinations in the very near future. Stay tuned!
To ensure that the airport remains well positioned to serve the Upstate region’s needs once air travel demand returns, work has continued on several significant capital improvement projects. We anticipate that our new Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting (ARFF) station will open on schedule in November 2020 and that our new Economy Parking Lot C will be completed in January 2021.
Enhancements to the airport entrance road and work to relieve roadway congestion at the airport will also conclude by the end of the year. Our lighter flight schedule has allowed us to conduct necessary maintenance on our runway and taxiways and we have started to clear land for a future apron expansion and new aircraft hangar. In addition, a new roadway is currently being constructed and utilities relocated in preparation for a future parking garage, as parking demand warrants in future years.
Though we have seen some early signs of recovery in the aviation sector, we know that we still have a long way to go to return to pre-COVID-19 activity levels. We anticipate that passenger volume may not fully recover until 2023 or 2024 at GSP. The speed of this recovery will be highly dependent on how quickly business travel resumes. With over 60% of air travel at GSP reliant on business trips, we know that the level of access and flight frequency available at the airport will be closely tied to when and where companies located in the Upstate region travel. To ensure that GSP maintains quality air service options, it is critical for the nation to re-open, commerce to resume, and for the public to feel confident when they consider choosing air travel.
To that end, GSP remains committed to providing Upstate South Carolina travelers with a safe, clean, efficient, and modern airport offering quality connections to the people and places that matter most to them. Thank you for supporting GSP during this unprecedented time and we look forward to serving you on your next flight from your hometown airport.
Scott Carr, VP, Commercial Business & Communications, GSP Airport District
Welcome Terence Roberts, TATT Chairman
Mayor Roberts spoke about the initial Creating a Safer Upstate Discovery meetings, and the action items forthcoming.
Guest Presentation Scott Carr, Vice President, Commercial Business & Communications, GSP International Airport
Scott discussed GSP’s response to COVID-19, a passenger activity update, and how GSP is preparing for recovery. You can see his presentation here.
TATT Updates Dean Hybl, TATT Executive Director
Dean introduced the Creating Upstate Unsung Heroes Virtual Event on November 18. Register and nominate your Unsung Hero here.
Stay tuned for upcoming TATT Chat guest speakers! Networking time 20 minutes prior to the meeting on upcoming TATT Chats!
Sign on early to network with friends and colleagues, and stay afterwards to chat for a few minutes as well.
Anderson (David McCuen, City of Anderson)
Anderson Strong Promise campaign: worked with hospitals and community to start a campaign to roll out by Fourth of July with broadcast on 19 TV stations, billboards, local radio, over 1,000,000 impressions, included mask blitz, added flu shots and census sign ups
Economic development is accelerating with new hotel completion date 2021 with 87 rooms, conference room space, main street retail space, pocket park and commercial space for grill and bar
Working with developer on the north side and with Council’s support creating a public plaza and street scape to include hotels, downtown living, attractions to bring people downtown including retail, such as groups of breweries
Housing growth is still going very strong
Greenwood (Kelly McWhorter, Discover Greenwood)
Hosted southern regional water ski championships, Jr Golf Assoc event with 78 golfers from over 14 states/5 countries Hoping to host the Crappy USA Fishing Tournament to bring us fisherman, hotel rooms, etc.
New campaign called “Boost Greenwood” to improve public safety, increase neighborhood vibrancy, quality of life
Over $150k in small business funding received from city/state Local children’s home decorating downtown for the holidays
Greenville (Sharon Self, Greer Development Corporation)
Downtown construction complete with Hampton Inn Hotel, parking deck, and mixed-use development is in the works with housing, retail, brewery
Lost two small businesses, but gained eight, including one that closed and came back.
Much business growth despite COVID Trade Street closed on Friday nights for restaurant seating
Laurens (Councilman Brown Patterson, Laurens County)
Secured two grants near two million dollars for lighting/improvements to Laurens Airport
Two new businesses, and two expansions (over $50 million) 500 acre/3 million square foot industrial park under construction with first buildings done 934 initial unemployment claims, down to 48 now
All manufacturers back to pre-COVID staffing levels 3,000 residential lots in development Inside the city, parking upgrades, and 3 historic buildings on the square in restoration
City of Clinton broke ground yesterday on sports complex: amphitheater, trails, bike trails, baseball fields
Oconee (Morgan Holcomb, Oconee Economic Alliance)
Economic development busier than ever with new director they have dealt with pandemic, tornado but things improving
Clean up last week for one of hardest hit areas
COVID levels have been pretty low
Quality of life side good with much boat buying
Lots of economic development leads
Naturaland Trust is excited to officially announce the release of Renaissance Man: The Life of Tommy Wyche by Lynne Lucas. The book is now available at two local bookstores, M.Judson Booksellers in Greenville and Hub City Bookshop in Spartanburg, with all proceeds benefiting Naturaland Trust.
The late Tommy Wyche founded and led Naturaland Trust, South Carolina’s second oldest land trust, in championing the 40-year initiative that resulted in the protection of over 100,000 acres of the South Carolina mountains, which today include Caesars Head State Park, Jones Gap State Park and Jocassee Gorges. In addition, he was one of the key leaders in the revitalization of downtown Greenville. Tommy had an astonishing range of hobbies and talents, including photography, writing, piano, tennis, patented inventions, beekeeping, hiking and canoeing.
“Lynne has done an outstanding job in documenting my father’s full and amazing life,” said Brad Wyche, Tommy’s son.
Before starting her own eco-friendly garden design and installation company in 2003, Lucas was a staff writer, copy editor and columnist for The Greenville News for 25 years. The 339-page book, commissioned by Tommy’s children, explores his contributions to conservation, the City of Greenville’s amazing transformation, the Wyche law firm, and advocacy for the arts. It also includes a foreword by former Governor Dick Riley, many family stories, insights into his one-of-a-kind personality, and dozens of color photographs.
“The range of his accomplishments is just breathtaking,” said Lucas. “Every time I thought I was about finished, I’d uncover or be told about another terrific story or effort he was involved in.”
Tommy had so much going on in different arenas at the same time that one of the biggest challenges, said Lucas, was corralling and organizing the narrative, when it became clear that a chronological telling of his life wouldn’t work. Instead, the book is divided into major parts by topic.
Renaissance Man: The Life of Tommy Wyche is $24 and can be ordered at M.Judson Booksellers by calling 864-603-2412 and Hub City Bookshop by calling 864-577-9349. After ordering, store pickup is available at both bookstores, or the book can be shipped directly to your home.
ABOUT NATURALAND TRUST
Building on Tommy Wyche’s extraordinary legacy, Naturaland Trust continues to work on acquiring and protecting special places in the mountains and foothills of South Carolina, including lands adjoining Jones Gap and Paris Mountain State Parks, lands along Scenic Highway 11, expanding the Swamp Rabbit Trail, and protecting critical habitat for threatened and endangered species.
For more information, see www.naturalandtrust.org.
The Upstate Mobility Alliance was created following a two-year regional analysis of mobility in the Upstate known as Connecting Our Future. In January of this year, Michael Hildebrand was hired as the Director of the Upstate Mobility Alliance to help move the initial effort from analysis to action. The challenges of COVID-19 have further magnified some of the mobility challenges in the Upstate, especially in our rural and lower-wealth communities.
Michael answered a few questions to provide an update on the efforts and focus of the Upstate Mobility Alliance as we near the end of their first year of action.
Q: The Upstate Mobility Alliance was created with a vision to make the Upstate a vibrant and connected region. What areas have the most potential for success?
A: When the alliance was created, four areas were identified that we would focus our efforts on. Those areas include Public Transportation, Active and Livable Communities, Mobility Investments, and Technology and Innovation. We believe that by successfully implementing projects in each of these areas we will see great returns for the Upstate region.
Q: Could you explain the types of projects you envision in each of the focus areas?
A: From a Public Transportation position, we currently have four, historically underfunded, public transportation systems operating in the Upstate. This lack of funding has led to these systems having limited routes and service hours, which prevents them from being flexible enough to meet the changing needs of our communities. By raising awareness of this issue and providing out of the box thinking about how to create expanded service and regional connections, we can help these systems expand to reduce our dependence on automobiles.
Our focus for Active and Livable communities’ centers around making safe connections to home, shopping, education, employment, and other activities centers. These connections such as sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails allow people to get to where they want to go with needing a vehicle. The Upstate has a great network of trails and other connections currently, and we would like to continue expanding this network to continue the benefits of this focus such as increased economic mobility for our communities while also making us a healthier place to live.
Unfortunately, the Upstate, and South Carolina in general, have limited resources to fund transportation and infrastructure needs. There are many different options for funding these projects, and we will create opportunities for conversations and education about these options so that we can more effectively fund our transportation needs.
Finally, our Technology and Innovation focus is looking to build on the Upstate’s innovative culture and encourage pilot programs around, and the adoption of, transportation technology. These areas include autonomous vehicle technology, signal prioritization, and 5G technologies to create a safer and more efficient Upstate.
Q: What are some of the current Upstate Mobility Alliance projects you are excited about?
A: One project that I am excited about is our work with the seven rural Upstate counties. Each of these counties have expressed the issues, such as lack of economic mobility or safety concerns, they have seen because transportation is limited. We are convening leaders from these counties to discuss what their specific needs are and provide them with options that will help their community. In October we are hosting a panel discussion with five transit providers from across the United States who will explain why they needed to establish transportation services, how the service is funded, and share lessons learned during the process.
Another project I am excited about is the creation of our strategic plan. Our Leadership Committee is made up of brilliant and diverse community leaders who embrace the vision of the Upstate Mobility Alliance. Using this collective power, we are developing goals that will not only improve transportation and mobility in the Upstate but make our region more attractive to individuals and industries looking to live and work in an area that is progressive and vibrant.
Q: What will the Upstate look like when you are successful?
A: We are creating an Upstate region that will be vibrant and accessible to everyone, regardless of how they chose to travel. The Upstate will be known as bicycle and pedestrian friendly, on the cutting edge of mobility technology, welcoming to mobility startups, and a healthy and inclusive community. I am excited about our possibilities.