Frances Davis, 82, remembers when Newtown was greater than a reputation for an space inside Greenville’s Southernside. It was a “group.”
The traditionally Black neighborhood was crammed with households, neighbors who seemed out for one another, shops, companies and companies.
“Homes have been in all places,” stated Davis, who grew up on West Washington Road.
She loved the group then and desires to get pleasure from it once more.
Mountain View Baptist Church in Newtown, the place Davis has been a member for the reason that age of 12, is taking steps to satisfy that want.
Mountain View and its subsidiary, Parish Home Group Improvement Company, are constructing a grasp plan to assist information its work in growing Newtown in a method that’s not been executed earlier than, the Rev. Stacey Mills, senior pastor at Mountain View, stated.
They envision a vibrant and wholesome group with improved high quality of life addressing high quality inexpensive housing, well being and training disparities, and the shortage of financial alternatives “which have impaired Newtown and precipitated it not to have the ability to thrive and take part within the wealthy, high quality of life that Greenville affords a lot of its residents,” Mills stated.
What they envision is centered round social worth, he stated.
Mills stated there have been many cases, throughout the growth of downtown Fundamental Road particularly, when his dialog with Mountain View congregants ended with them saying that “Fundamental Road is just not for us.”
“As powerful as which may be a press release to listen to or to embrace, the message behind it’s greater than the price of parking or the actions which can be held on Fundamental Road is the disappearance of cultural illustration all through the town of Greenville, by way of which might be addressed by way of this undertaking,” he stated.
“So, this social alternative is vital to a lot of what we have talked about and envision for holding on to on this group.”
Southernside’s Newtown neighborhood spans from Cagle and Temple streets to the Legacy Constitution Elementary College website on East Bramlett Street, to West Washington Road, and to Willard Road. The Reedy River and Swamp Rabbit Path run parallel to the neighborhood solely about 100 yards away.
Mountain View, initially positioned on Kelly Avenue, moved to Newtown’s Cagle Road in 1920.
At its pinnacle, there have been 400 to 500 households residing within the quick space of Newtown.
Through the years, Mills stated, there was appreciable disinvestment to the Newtown neighborhood.
Homes have been torn down after floods, crime and neglect.
Over the past 25 years, the church has persistently bought property to land financial institution and current to the group as viable choices for its future, Mills stated.
Final week, Mountain View and Parish Home CDC hosted a charrette to collect enter and concepts for a grasp plan.
Newtown is thought for a lot of points – disinvestment, contamination, flooding, and presently a meals desert, stated Byron Jeffries, architectural designer with Johnston Design Group and undertaking supervisor for the Newtown grasp plan.
The charrette was a possibility for voices to be heard “in a method that’s destined to make a major change,” he stated. About 100 folks attended the launch
Mary Tolliver, who has lived in and round Newtown for a few years, is glad that the church has lastly reached this level in its redevelopment plan.
“I do know you shouldn’t, however after you undergo so many belongings you get disillusioned,” Tolliver stated on the launch of the charrette. “I’m hoping this may construct this group again up.”
Mountain View shared its idea and concepts for reviving Newtown throughout a neighborhood assembly in 2019. The charrette to create a grasp plan is the primary section towards making the plan a actuality.
Like others, Tolliver stated she longs for Newton’s return to its village-like period.
“We misplaced our youthful youngsters as a result of there was no place for them to go. We misplaced a whole lot of them due to no daycare, no recreation, no nothing,” she stated.
Whereas there’s a park in Newtown, it floods and has executed so for years however “no one cared,” Tolliver stated. She used to stay in a home near the church, flood waters rose to her porch to the place she couldn’t stroll out of her home.
Then, she stated, “no one actually cared.”
“Now, we’re hoping to deal with all of this,” Tolliver stated. “Now we’ve got individuals who care.”
Davis, who now lives on Birnie Road in West Greenville, desires Newtown’s revival to incorporate a grocery retailer and a multi-purpose constructing.
Alberta Miles Taylor, additionally a longtime member of Mountain View, welcomes the “build-up” of Newtown and any Black group that wants it.
Quite a bit has modified over time within the metropolis’s Black communities, she stated. They’re not being maintained in addition to different neighborhoods, she stated.
“Our roads are even completely different than what it’s in different neighborhoods,” she stated. “Some over right here now received extra potholes than something.”
Taylor stated she thanks God for Mills and for the hassle to revive the group.
“Pastor Mills is off the chain,” she stated. “He means enterprise.”
Mountain View and the Parish Home CDC owns 41 tons.
With these tons and partnerships with different landowners, Parish Home will handle housing, whether or not its multi-family, single-family hooked up single household indifferent, and a wide range of incomes.
“We hope to have the ability to welcome individuals who work on Fundamental Road however must catch the bus an extended distance to get to work on daily basis, lecturers who could educate at Legacy Constitution (college) across the nook, or the police officer who patrols the neighborhood however can’t stay within the neighborhood,” Mills stated.
Newtown used to have two close by grocery shops – Bi-Lo shops on Previous Buncombe Street and North Fundamental Road. Now, the closest grocery retailer is 2 miles away.
“Should you’re shopping for groceries for household, strolling two miles with groceries is not the simplest factor to do,” Mills stated.
“When speaking with somebody about meals and the alternatives that we’ve got, I heard any individual inform me you possibly can’t actually inform me what to eat. I stated, ‘Theoretically you is perhaps proper. Philosophically, you are fallacious as a result of if all we’ve got within the neighborhood is a QT, a Spinx, Hardee’s or McDonald’s, then we’re telling you what to eat.”
“We hope to make an adjustment to that and handle wholesome meals choices, Mills stated.