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Volunteers will soon begin planting trees and shrubs along Business 85 from the Highway 9 interchange to Exit 77 on Interstate 85.
It s part of a four-year-old beautification project designed to improve the look coming into Spartanburg and Spartanburg County, developer John Montgomery told Spartanburg County Council this week. He was joined by former Spartanburg Mayor Bill Barnet.
The purpose is to clean up, beautify some of our unattractive roadsides to help instill a sense of pride in our community, Montgomery said. We are recruiting people and industry in our community every day. We want to have something people can be proud of when people are either passing through or coming to visit.
Montgomery said for years, the eight-mile Business 85 corridor was a neglected highway, marred by trash and overgrowth. But that has changed in the last four years, since volunteers took on projects to beautify it, with private donations and help from Spartanburg County, he said.
He said the section from the split from I-85 toward Greenville to Highway 9 has been mostly completed, and soon work will start on the next phase from Highway 9 to where the corridor rejoins with the interstate at Exit 77.
Montgomery showed a slide of rows of holly and crepe myrtle trees along one section between Business 85 and a frontage road, which he said used to be separated by an ugly fence.
He said improvements to two gateways one on I-85 entering Spartanburg County from Greenville County, and another on I-26 southbound at the North Carolina line have been successful.
We ve been very happy with the way these projects have turned out so far, Montgomery said. And no county money was used.
The next interstate gateway to be landscaped will be along I-26 northbound from Laurens County.
Montgomery said Spartanburg Community College has finished redoing the landscape along Business 85 near its exit. The original landscaping was damaged by an October 2017 tornado.
Barnet said the beautification effort has involved the city, the county, Pacolet Milliken, Milliken & Co., Ashley Allen and the Noble Tree Group, Monty Mullen and the Balmer Foundation, Henry Giles and Spartanburg Community College, former County Administrator Katherine O Neill, current County Administrator Cole Alverson and Travis Brown, the county s director of public works.
County Councilman David Britt, chairman of county council s economic development committee, praised Montgomery and Barnet, saying appearance makes a big difference when recruiting jobs and people.
We were all taught by our mamas and daddies and our grandparents tighten up, you only get one chance, Britt said. And we do get one chance. Millions of people travel on 85.