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May 21st, 2021
For her tireless dedication to neighborhood revitalization, improvement, and affordable housing development in Greenville, former Community Development Administrator with the City of Greenville Ginny Stroud is the recipient of the 2021 Land Planning and Policy Champion Award.
Although my education is in business administration and social work, I was drawn to the field of planning and community development after working in the early 1990s with the United Way of Greenville County and their social planning arm, the Community Planning Council. United Way partnered with the City of Greenville to create a revitalization strategy in the Green Avenue Neighborhood (near Greenville High School). The plan included affordable housing, infrastructure improvements and services that supported the residents toward realizing their workforce potential. Working side-by-side with citizens to support crafting their goals and vision for the community was incredibly rewarding. As a result of that effort, I had the opportunity to join the City of Greenville’s Community Development team and to carry that initiative into other neighborhoods throughout the city. It became a wonderful career-long experience.
During my time with the City of Greenville, I am really proud of our work to develop the capacity of our neighborhood associations by supporting the existing network of community leaders and cultivating a new generation of leadership within the city’s Special Emphasis Neighborhoods: Brutontown, Greater Sullivan, Green Avenue, Greenline-Spartanburg, Haynie Sirrine, Nicholtown, Pleasant Valley, Southernside, Viola Street, the West End, and West Greenville.
Local governments, non-profit organizations and affordable housing developers can do a lot, but it takes authentically engaged residents to improve communities and build the consensus required to sustain those improvements over time.
I am hopeful for the future of development in Greenville because the public has come to recognize the importance of affordable housing in creating an equitable, diverse, and thriving community. Today there is a greater understanding that in order to offer the amenities that people crave in a vibrant city, the housing needs of citizens across the full economic spectrum must be addressed in a way that allows all who contribute to Greenville’s success to simultaneously benefit from it. Citizens, development partners and policy-makers all contribute to our community growing in a deliberate, inclusive and quality-focused manner.
In order for Greenville to continue to progress and remain an award-winning city, we must ensure that all citizens, regardless of their income, have the opportunity to live in a quality home, close to the wonderful amenities that Greenville has to offer. It is important that we support our own citizens who keep our city moving forward — our hospitality, construction, and service workers as well as our first responders, educators and public servants — by providing a variety of housing options to meet the variety of needs their families have.