If you wonder why some people think Greenville has an anti-business reputation, you don’t have to look very far.
Just consider how some of our citizens are reacting over — heaven forbid — a doughnut shop that might be built near their neighborhood. More than 30 Greenville residents have signed a petition opposing the plans for a doughnut shop that’s been proposed for the intersection of FM 1570 and U.S. Highway 69 in southern Greenville. They’re worried that the new pastry store might cause problems with trash, parking, traffic and even damage the city’s streets.
Yes, they’re worried about traffic, the very sign of a thriving business community.
It would be one thing if it was a shady type of business that would bring people of ill repute to the area, but we’re not aware of any instances of eclair-on-eclair violence, sugary syringes tossed into the streets or powder-coated hoodlums hanging out at doughnut shops at all hours of the night. Maybe we’re wrong.
It would be easier to laugh about it, though, if this weren’t such a serious issue for our community.
Greenville has, for many decades, had a lopsided economy that relies too heavily on a single defense contractor to provide local jobs. L-3 Mission Integration is the giant fish in our very small pond, and local residents ought to be doing everything they can to bring more businesses of all types to Greenville to diversify our economy.
That includes doughnut shops.
That’s going to mean more traffic, of course, which means more wear and tear on our roads. But the good news is that growth will also bring more money to fix the roads and improve our community as a whole.
While we understand that nobody likes extra traffic in their neighborhood, it’s hard to sympathize with residents who choose to live in the fastest-growing part of Greenville and then complain that development is coming. The south side of town, for better or worse, is the side that’s experienced tremendous real estate growth in the past decade as shopping centers, restaurants and other retailers have sprouted up.
No one who lives near the proposed doughnut shop’s intersection should be surprised that stores will be built there. We imagine that entire area will be paved and popular with shoppers in the years to come as one of the busiest corners in the rapidly growing side of Greenville. People who live nearby ought to be thrilled it’s a single doughnut shop being planned and not a mega-shopping center that would generate far more traffic and potential for problems.
While this one store may not provide a huge boost to Greenville’s economy, we’re much more worried about the mindset of the protesters and what that means for the city. The idea that we should fight growth because new development might cause problems is absolutely, completely wrong, and it’s a mindset that’s unhealthy for the future of Greenville.
We need to welcome development with open arms. We need to be good neighbors to any company that wants to expand or relocate here. And if there are problems that come as Greenville grows, it’s those good neighborly relationships with new businesses that will help get the problems resolved.
When a new business is built, that’s a time to celebrate, not to dig in our heels in defense of the status quo.
Let’s hope the City of Greenville does the right thing and approves the permit for the doughnut shop — along with lots of other new shops over time — so we’ll have plenty more reasons to celebrate as our community gets stronger. That’s what being pro-growth is all about.