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Thursday, January 30, 2014

Save the Hotel Sterling !!

Oops...too late.
Anyway, that ( the parking lot f/k/a the Hotel Sterling ) was the first thing that came to mind when I walked down to the riverfront in Greenville, SC last weekend and saw this old brick structure right along the Reedy River.
Imagine that. As part of the Reedy Riverfront Revitalization, the local leaders decided to save an old circa ~1880's manufacturing warehouse and incorporate it into the master plan. It has a new roof and plenty of floor space to hold events.
And right next to it? A huge covered amphitheater.
And just downstream?
The site of an old Railroad bridge was converted to a pedestrian walkway.
And what did they do with the space under the Main Street bridge?
They created a seating/gathering area with chairs, tables & benches.
And just a little further downstream?
They built a multi-million $ curved suspension bridge to view the waterfalls.
Folks, I visit and pass by the Riverfront on the Susquehanna River in Wilkes-Barre, PA several times a month. In the brief time I spent on a bitterly cold ( for them ) afternoon along the Reedy River in Greenville, SC...I saw more people walking, biking and just hanging around to enjoy the scenery & amenities in an hour than I've ever seen doing the same in Wilkes-Barre over several weeks of Saturday afternoon drive-bys. 
Perhaps, someday, my hometown, county and state will elect some leaders whose vision extends beyond closing the next backroom deal to line their pockets and those of their cronies.  
And when that happens...imagine the possibilities.


  1. Err...to be fair, I notice that the Sterling was about five stories taller than the preserved building in the pictures. That's a pretty significant difference. And where are the homeless people who would be filling the tables and chairs in that under-the-bridge area if it were in W-B? (They would certainly appreciate the large urinal wall in the back.) Just where did Greenville get the money to do this stuff, anyway? ...if I recall correctly, isn't that area flush with industries and employers? Their tax base may be a bit different from NEPA's.

  2. D.B.: I am neither an architect nor a structural engineer, so I don't know what it might have taken to save a larger building. Perhaps they could have taken the MIA $6MM earmarked to protect the building and saved the first two floors? Perhaps not. Who knows? The Old Fell House was not a large and imposing structure and was in much better shape than the Sterling when it was razed. From my observations, Greenville is an incredibly vibrant, thriving area. People working at all levels make that happen. Are they any better or smarter than us? Sometimes it takes only one person to get things rolling. I'll address the homeless issue at another time.