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A little more than two years ago, we moved into this cool space, in which we rendered a bohemian | industrial feel. We were part of a movement, to turn Laurens Street from an alley, back into a street. The city was very excited. It was us, and a developer of high-end condos, and an ad agency down the street, and a restaurant up on the corner. We got together with the city, before we made an offer on the place, to talk about plans.

They were gonna put a police out-station at the bottom of the block (to offset some issues having to do with the bus station across the street, and transients). There was gonna be a trash compactor, to deal with the trash generated by all the new residents and the restaurants that share our alley. There was gonna be some street scape work. It was gonna be cool.

Then, about three months ago, Duke Power decided to put an eight-foot-tall, green metal transformer in the middle of our street scape. Kinda works with the industrial bohemian thing. But not so much with the live oaks planted next to it. Anyhow, MDH (the woman at the city of Greenville who is in charge of the street project) decides that we can have a mural painted on the side of the eyesore…you know, like arty cities like Austin and Portland do. We though, cool!

We suggested, why not put something to promote one of the big shows coming to The Peace Center. Generate some street level excitement. Ran it by the MDH. Her bureaucratic response:

“Good idea—the only thing is it would be considered “off-premise advertising” and would not meet our city ordinance. If we allowed the Peace Center to advertise, other people would ask to advertise on things all across the City. I think we will probably have to use artwork instead of ads. Thanks for your feedback.”

I think she (and the city) are confused, and need to get this strait in their heads.The old “if we let one person, we’ll have to let everyone” just doesn’t wash in this case. The Peace Center is not everyone. The Peace Center is a major non-profit institution, positioned as the cultural center of the region. It is a substantial driver of city revenue, as well as a significant economic development magnet. If they can advertise their silly footbridge, they can advertise the jewel in their cultural crown.

They need to be reminded that without The Peace Center for the Performing Arts, there is no WEST END.

Sorry for the rant.

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