City's Growth Requires Diligence
Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 1:54AM
Editor

By Anderson Mayor Terrance Roberts

     The City of Anderson should have affordable housing available to all residence in safe, aesthetically pleasing neighborhoods with access to jobs, education, recreation, healthcare, and commercial goods and services. Downtown is taking off, which is a testament to the investment this community made in the last decade. One can easily identify the characteristics of private business taking the lead in its further development. Project after project is being proposed by private developers to enter a zone that was reborn due to the staunch commitment and public investment of the City Council, City staff, and tax payers. The City took the lead in providing infrastructure and encouragement, and it seems to have reached a tipping point. The same vision and investment must now be shifted to our neighborhoods.


    This is not to say we should ignore our downtown and other commercial zones as they continue to take off. Instead this is a shift that seeks to maintain our current growth and make the necessary investments to keep its momentum. While we continue to sustain our lead in the commercial game, it is time for the full court press in our neighborhoods. As our business citizens continue to progress, our investment will provide them with more customers living and workers in close proximity with the means and the desire to purchase their goods and services.

     We must have the vision and the tenacity to create affordable and accessible housing across the limits of our city. Let me be very clear what I mean because those things mean very different things to different people. Affordable does not mean low rents created by undesirability in areas plagued with poor economic conditions and high crime. Affordable means a home in a safe and welcoming neighborhood with a rent low enough to leave families with money to pursue other needs such as health care, transportation, and education. Accessibility to quality jobs, educational opportunities, health care, and recreational services are just a few of the other secondary factors on which we must focus to improve the quality of life for all our residents.

     We must protect our neighborhoods from commercial encroachment and traffic congestion. As development continues in downtown and along corridors like Main Street / Clemson Boulevard or Greenville Street, we must have the vision to provide the proper planning and programs to protect the values and accessibility of some of our most successful neighborhoods. We must also work to maintain the character of our historic neighborhoods. That character attracts residents and adds value to our city. We must not lose the essential character that is so vital to each unique neighborhood. A residential plan that includes zoning, traffic planning, and development planning must be enacted now to maintain the quality of life for the residents of these neighborhoods. 

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     These trends have taken decades to develop and it will take a few years to bring the results we desire. It is also going to require more than the effort of the City Council and Staff. It will take a commitment from the citizens of Anderson to make a positive and lasting change. People said we could never do it downtown and we proved them wrong. The City will continue to put our creativity, energy, and money to work to do the same for our neighborhoods. Now is the time for all of us to take action, to stem the tide of unchecked development, and to make sure that our neighborhoods become and stay livable for years to come. It is the residents of our fair city that have made it great; it is up to US to protect their way of life.


 

Article originally appeared on The Anderson Observer (http://andersonobserver.com/).
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