Five years ago, in the depths of the recession, Spartanburg, South Carolina leaders began raising funds for a radical revitalization plan.
So began the Northside Initiative, an ambitious vision to transform a 400-acre crime-ridden food desert into a vibrant, sustainable, opportunity-rich swath of Spartanburg.
Once a vibrant population hub, the area slipped into a crime-ridden pattern of decline.
Five years of redevelopments later – including a food hub with job training, housing builds for a model block on Brawley Street and near-completion for a recreation center – violent crime has fallen 81 percent since 2011, according to leaders.
“The Northside Initiative is the most comprehensive community redevelopment project in this city’s history, and I would venture that it’s the most comprehensive redevelopment project that’s ever happened in South Carolina,” said City of Spartanburg representative Will Rothschild. “It’s focused almost entirely on housing, and that’s a huge thing.”