Growing Healthier Places in Spartanburg County Begins With Community Visioning

Today’s blog is written by Sherry Barrett, Community Design & Land Planning Manager for Upstate Forever.

Last year 25% of Spartanburg County residents reported inadequate access to places to be physically active; 85% of the workforce drove alone to work (of which 27% commuted 30+ minutes); and the county ranked 38thin physical environment health factors among South Carolina’s 46 counties. Consequently, and perhaps most alarming, 26% reported no leisure time physical activity.

Sprawl —pervasive across Spartanburg County—is absolutely complicit in these statistics. But what can we do about sprawl? How can we counter sprawl and foster healthier physical environments in Spartanburg County?

Heart of Boiling Springs, an initiative made possible through a grant awarded to Upstate Forever by the Mary Black Foundation, is challenging community members to think critically about the place they love, and to explore how it can become even more beloved – with health at the heart of deciding how to grow and develop. Heart of Boiling Springs has entrusted Toole Design Group to lead a process to develop a shared, community-driven vision for Boiling Springs that is aspirational, yet realistic. The vision will lay a foundation for improving results on the ground through Spartanburg County’s Area Performance Planning process.

This week Upstate Forever is visiting with instructor Angela Duncan and her students in the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program at Upstate Family Resource Center. One third of students’ class time this week is being devoted to learning about and participating in the community visioning process. Students will complete surveys and record preferences related to future growth in Boiling Springs.

All members of the Boiling Springs community are encouraged to complete this survey and attend the Discovery Workshop on Thursday, March 22, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm and the Validation Workshop on Thursday, April 26, 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm at Boiling Springs First Baptist Church, 3600 Boiling Springs Rd.