I’ve always wanted Greenville to be the most beautiful, livable, welcoming city in America.
We had a long way to go in 1995. Many of the key assets people enjoy now simply weren’t here. The Poinsett Hotel was boarded up. The Reedy River waterfall was covered by a four-lane highway. Downtown was a place you did not go. We had the Hyatt and the Peace Center, but nothing in between. We certainly never had any tourists. We weren’t on any “best of” lists. But we had so much potential.
I ran on a platform of livability. For me it started with the neighborhoods and four priorities:
- Sidewalk construction
- Traffic calming and speed humps
- Creation of Neighborhood Associations
- Inviting citizens to participate in government
Mayor Knox White at his first swearing-in ceremony as mayor, December 11, 1995.
Mayor Knox White at his second swearing-in ceremony in 1999.
If I am proud of one thing it is that we have never turned back on that.
During a quarter century as Mayor I have carefully chosen just three photos for my office wall. They represent transformational projects. The Westin Poinsett. The Liberty Bridge. Fluor Field.
The Poinsett Hotel reopening after being closed for thirty years brought retail and restaurants to this end of Main Street. Removing the Camperdown Bridge and reclaiming the Reedy River falls gave Greenville an identity and a touchstone for the community. The public-private partnership to build a downtown ballpark spurred development of the West End none of us could have imagined.
I have space for a fourth photo. Unity Park. I can’t wait for our citizens to enjoy 60 acres of greenspace, restored sections of the Reedy, affordable living and a visitor’s center for community recreation opening in the Spring of 2022.
Thank you, Greenville for allowing me to lead, serve and shape the growth of my hometown.
How a South Carolina Park Plans to confront Its Racist History
CityLab, Oct. 29, 2018
The mayor discusses how the creation of Unity Park will unite two formerly segregated parks, and educate visitors about the area’s racially charged history.
Read CityLab article
South Carolina Park Looks To Uncover And Mend City’s Segregated History
Forbes, August 2018
Mayor White talks with Forbes magazine about the city’s plan to develop Unity Park, a $40 million park in an abandoned and once segregated part of the city.
City Parks: America’s New Infrastructure
City Parks Alliance, September 2017
Mayor White discusses the use of city parks to address urban challenges, from flood prevention to economic revitalization.
Watch the Parks Alliance video
Not All Forgotten American Cities Are Struggling
PBS News Hour, March 9, 2016
Journalists James and Deborah Fallows find a thriving community in Greenville that bucks the standard pessimistic narrative.
Watch the PBS video
Reshaping Rochester - Connecting A River City
WXXI Public Radio, April 6, 2016
Mayor Knox White shared his insight into how river cities can be connected and vibrant during a visit to Rochester.
Listen to the interview
Mayor Recognized by American Society of Landscape Architects
American Society of Landscape Architects, Nov. 9, 2015
Mayor Knox White was awarded Honorary Membership in the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) at the 2015 ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO, held in Chicago November 6-9, 2015.
Read the news release
Around Carolina, August 11, 2015
Hidden for 40 years, the downtown Reedy River falls - and the park built around it - has changed the face of the area.
Watch the Around Carolina report
The Case for Strong Mayors
The Atlantic, April 2014
Atlantic writer James Fallows uses Mayor Knox White and Greenville as a case-in-point, showcasing the leadership that has made Greenville a jewel of the South.
View The Atlantic Magazine article