The future of Uptown

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By MILES ROBINSON

 

 

Even those of us who have lived in Greenville just a short while have seen rapid changes in the Uptown area. Condos, restaurants, clubs and specialty shops are peacefully coexisting with some of our venerable (and in some cases, legendary) enterprises.

The recent spate of development doesn’t seem to be slowing any time soon. Redevelopment of the Town Common area, as well as multiple new student living options and even a boutique hotel will soon add to the wonders of the city’s centre; creating an urban core that promises to catapult Greenville, kicking and screaming if necessary, into the 21st century.

This type of progress doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens when businessmen and city leaders get together (usually over a nice lunch) and try to envision how great this city can become. 

“It’s easy to look out over the next few years and see what’s happening” said Mayor Thomas Allen. “But what about 20, 30 or even 50 years from now? Like seriously, what will the deal really be?”

To help bring into focus that type of long-range vision, City leaders asked noted futurist Topaimi Ngyuen to come and speak at the annual ‘Direction of Uptown’ meeting of dignitaries and stakeholders. The following are excerpts from Dr. Ngyuen’s presentation:

“Do you love what you do? I mean ‘wake up every morning and wink and whisper “Showtime” to yourself in the mirror’ love what you do? I do. I do. I do because I get to help cities and towns across America help design their futures. That’s Godstuff, pretty much.

“Walking around downtown or uptown or whatever today, I see potential, but potential is a tricky thing. Because potential means you haven’t made it. Not yet. Someone thinks you can — and that’s cool. But you ain’t done nothing yet.

“One of the trends we see is the incorporation of zoological parks in with the existing biosphere and, where it makes sense, turning the whole place into a zoo. And for Greenville I hear that’s not too big of a stretch. You guys do have it going on.

“Global warming is real, people. The Tar River is expected to be 75 feet higher in 75 years. That’s enough to flood out the entire district. But you know what I say? Buy some Gondolas. Make lemonade.

“You know what people love? Hippos. You guys have got a river here that only a hippo could love. It’s dark, muddy. Hell, no one’s really sure if there’s even a bottom to the thing. It could be the nexus to the afterlife for all I know. But hippos don’t care. Set a few out there. Let the kids feed them. It’ll be great.

“Let’s make bike ownership a think of the past. Need a bike? See a bike. Pick a bike up. Ride it to your destination. It won’t be there when you come out, but another bike will appear soon enough. ‘Community Biking’ is the wave of the future and the best part is that it decriminalizes transportation.

“Finally, let’s talk for a moment about community relations. The cities of tomorrow won’t be any better than the cities of today without better relationships. That’s why we initiated a program in Austin, Texas that has been so successful. The ‘Don’t Thug It Out, Hug It Out’ program allows every citizen walking the streets of Uptown three unsolicited, under-the-shoulder hugs per day. No questions asked. You get a sash, like a Girl Scout when you enter the district with that day’s date. Then, you see someone who looks like they need a hug?  Boom! Let ‘em have it! You see somewhat that you’d really like to hug? You can get cha some. Let’s make hugging street legal in Greenville.

Note: In case you hadn’t caught on, this largely ridiculous version of the actual ‘State of the District’ meeting in January is purely a April Fool’s mash-up and is no way intended to portray what our city leader’s envision for our fair town. Any similarities to actual persons may or may not be coincidental, but definitely done in the spirit of good-natured fun. 

 

For more information on the real deal for Uptown, visit uptowngreenville.com.

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