At ALINE, we regularly talk as a team about more ways we can live up to our mission of elevating people, brands and communities. When it comes to our home community of Spartanburg, unprecedented growth and development is having a profound effect on our economy and on people’s everyday lives. While this change is producing many positive, tangible benefits, there have been and will continue to be challenges. And keeping up with it all — much less making sense of it — is certainly one of those challenges.
That is the genesis of a new category of content we are going to be creating and sharing with you. We are calling it Eye on Spartanburg and our goal is simple: to help provide some context for some of the major trends, developments, events and changes happening here. Many of these pieces will include interviews with business owners, community leaders and other people who are doing something interesting and impactful we think you should know more about. The first installment is a 30,000-foot view at the past few years of growth and development that will set the stage for many of the stories that will follow.
That might not be what you would expect from a typical marketing firm. But we think it’s one of the best things we can do right now to help not only our clients but our home community. Better understanding the world in which we live is important for everyone. And it’s essential to make informed decisions. So, we’re going to try to help with that.
We encourage you not only to join in the conversation, but to help lead it. Start a discussion, ask questions, leave comments, drop us a tip or suggest a story angle. We promise to follow up. — Drew and Charles
A few months ago, updated population figures and other data was released by the federal government. The highlight: Spartanburg is not only growing, but growing about as fast as any place in the country.
Spartanburg County is now home to more than 306,000 people. Just 10 years ago, only 285,000 people lived in Spartanburg County. The rate of growth during the past two years has been even higher, ranking Spartanburg in the top 4 of South Carolina counties and in the top 20 of 383 metropolitan areas in the nation.
For many local residents, much of this likely comes as no surprise. The signs of growth are everywhere. Large developments — on both the residential and commercial side — are underway in every corner of the county. Spartanburg’s seven public school districts are renovating and expanding current schools and building new ones to accommodate enrollment growth that has created campuses dotted with mobile classrooms.
Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System is in the midst of a multi-faceted project that will remake and expand both its main campus in the heart of Spartanburg and its Pelham Medical Center satellite. Ground downtown will be broken soon on a $200-plus million plan that includes a much-needed new county courthouse and a joint city-county government center.
And dozens of road and trail projects are underway in an attempt to keep up with it all.
The growth making those projects necessary is being fueled by a local economy building on its historical strength in manufacturing while also showing signs of long-hoped-for diversification, after years of fits and starts and a more concerted focus recently.
Spartanburg still has miles to go to approach the kind of success in attracting professional and creative class jobs other Southeastern cities have enjoyed. But you only need to spend a few hours in Downtown Spartanburg to understand things are changing rapidly. Local restaurants are being featured in regional and national publications. Officials and economic development experts from other communities are visiting to learn more about what is working here.
Spartanburg, you might say, is having a moment.
How long it will last, what Spartanburg will look like, and what it means for local residents, families, businesses and organizations is something we think about and talk about a lot. Where is this market headed? How is it going to change and what does it mean for you? What opportunities are already being created by this growth, and what might emerge next month, next quarter, next year? For that matter, what new challenges are we facing, and what old challenges aren’t any closer to being addressed, despite what is perceived to be rising prosperity community-wide?
We’re going to cover this ongoing story. We’ll be back soon with more. And thanks for reading.