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Greenville County adopts conservation trust fund to protect threatened resources - December 15th 2020

A critical step forward in implementing the Comprehensive Plan

This evening, Greenville County Council passed an ordinance establishing a trust fund to help permanently protect Greenville’s natural and historic assets for residents, visitors, and future generations.

More than 300,000 new residents are anticipated to move to the Upstate by 2040, and more than half will likely make Greenville County their new home, “but that growth does not have to compromise our natural assets and quality of life,” says Andrea Cooper, Executive Director of Upstate Forever.

“Our Council showed true leadership this evening when they adopted the Greenville County Historic and Natural Resources Trust to conserve iconic places like our working farms and view sheds; expand existing parks and create new ones; develop an extensive trail network; and preserve historic structures — effectively protecting this incredible place as we continue to welcome new residents and businesses,” said Cooper.

The Greenville County Historic and Natural Resources Trust is a County program overseen by a Council-appointed board and will serve as a funding resource for eligible local landowners, agencies, governments, and nonprofits to protect land and historic resources in Greenville County. The ordinance includes specific criteria for applicants and projects, as well as procedures and guidelines for the County and the board as to how to manage and disburse grants.

Greenville County joins three other South Carolina Counties — Oconee, Beaufort, and Charleston — with similar conservation programs.

“This Trust will bring critical additional resources to Greenville County from State and Federal Programs, individuals and non-profit organizations,” said Doug Harper of Harper General Contractors and former Chairman of the South Carolina Conservation Bank Board. “Having a local public funding source is an important criterion when seeking outside grants and funding. This is an investment in our future that will pay big dividends. Besides protecting and enhancing our quality of life, it will help us recruit businesses and good jobs that seek areas with a strong conservation ethic and access to nature. Council was wise to adopt this ordinance.”

Council voted unanimously in favor, signaling a firm commitment to greenspace protection — a priority outlined in the recently adopted Comprehensive Plan.

"One of the critical priorities in Greenville's recently updated Comprehensive Plan, which was adopted by unanimous vote last year, is protecting the natural and historic places that are essential to Greenville’s prosperity, quality of life, and character," said Councilwoman Liz Seman. "This Trust is a practical tool to create tremendous impact and achieve the goals set forth in the Comprehensive Plan in a cost-effective way. I was pleased to support the Historic and Natural Resources Trust and think it is a great opportunity to make Greenville County an even better place to live."

For more information, contact Andrea Cooper, Executive Director, at

Upstate Forever is a nonprofit conservation organization that protects critical lands, waters, and the unique character of the Upstate of South Carolina. We focus our work on the ten counties of Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg and Union. Since 1998, we have worked to protect the natural assets that make the Upstate so special: our farmlands, forests, natural areas, rivers, and mountains. We are committed to ensuring that our communities are vibrant and retain their green spaces, outdoor heritage, and unique identities in the face of rapid development and significant sprawl. Upstate Forever has offices in Greenville and Spartanburg.

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