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TEAM GREER The Greer Community Master Plan An entire community pieces together its future THE 2015 ANNUAL REPORT FOR THE CITY OF GREER GREER AT A GLANCE Founded 1876 Population 27167 2013 U.S. Census estimate Government Council City Administrator Edward Driggers Area Total 22.82 square miles Land 20.86 square miles Water 1.96 square miles Elevation 1024 ft. Departments Administration Building and Development Standards Fire Municipal Court Parks and Recreation Police Public Services Website www.cityofgreer.org DISTRICT 1 Jay Arrowood GREER CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 2 Wayne Griffin DISTRICT 3 Kimberly Bookert MAYOR Rick Danner DISTRICT 4 Lee Dumas DISTRICT 5 Wryley Bettis DISTRICT 6 Judy Albert CONTENTS RETAIL RECORD TEAM GREER THE ANNUAL REPORT FOR THE CITY OF GREER Gross retail sales in the City of Greer top the 1 billion mark for the first time. DEPARTMENTS AND SPECIAL REPORTS Team Greer is produced by the City of Greer Communications Office Copyright 2016 City of Greer SC 26 Finance Office 28 Building and Development Standards 30 Fire Department 32 Municipal Court 34 Parks and Recreation 36 Police Department 38 Public Services 39 Greer Development Corporation 40 Greenville County Redevelopment Authority INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL 4 SPECIAL OLYMPICS TORCH RUN 16 7 3 STRIKING BACK Partnerships help establish a court dedicated to criminal domestic violence cases. 8 TEEN TITANS The Greer Police Department declared its inaugural Youth Citizen Academy a success. 11 THE K-9 COPS New police officers Boss and Stryker are top cops and great ambassadors for the city. 14 ONE STEP AWAY A simulator is helping Greer Police train for real situations. 18 A MASTER PLAN The Greater Greer community has pieced together a strategic plan for the future. 20 GETTING TO KNOW LOCAL OFFICERS Our Community Master Plan is a product of many minds When some communities prepare to create a mas- ter plan those around the table represent a small group of administrators business people and planners. More often than not the end result is a plan produced for the community. The cover story in this annual report shares the results from the City of Greers master planning pro- cess and the process that helped create that document. Facilitated by the planning and consulting group Kim- ley-Horn and Associates that planning process did in- clude civic and business leaders but there was a sizable and important group that was crucial to the process. We recognized early on that the residents of this community were key stakeholders in the plan that will help shape the Greater Greer Area over the next 15 years and encouraged every member to have his or her say in the results. The end result of this process is a plan produced by the community. Planning can be a drawn-out process not the type of activity that tends to draw crowds for an evening out. When the call for public input went out however the response in this community was overwhelming. Invitations to workshops drew a tremendous re- sponse and participants transcended age gender race and household income. The call for online feedback was met with thousands of responses by those truly wanting to make a difference. Instead of focusing on things that may divide a community it was the desire to improve this communi- ty that brought everyone together. As both an elected official and a resident of the City of Greer that fills my heart with pride. The result Plan Greer is the product of many minds and bears the fingerprints of this entire commu- nity. It is your plan. Its important to remember that the plan simply marks a starting point albeit an integral one for our future. Those who remember our original community master plan created at the turn of the century are not surprised today by Greer Station our booming cen- tral business district the Police and Municipal Court Complex on Main Street and the remarkable facilities at Greer City Park and Greer City Hall. These all were components of that original plan and came to fruition through a series of steps outlined in the plan. Just as no responsible contractor would build a home without blueprints city leaders cannot or at least should not undertake major changes in facili- ties and infrastructure without a master plan. With a new plan in place we begin to take the steps that will improve transportation recreation cul- tural arts growth opportunities and overall quality of life during the next 15 years. The work is just beginning and there will be many more opportunities for you to stay involved in Plan Greer. Instead of focusing on things that may divide a community it was the desire to improve this community that brought everyone together. Rick Danner Mayor Team Greers daily goal always exceed expectations Ed Driggers City Administrator We have a name for the group of city employees that serves you on a daily basis Team Greer. Depending on your preferred dictionary youre likely to find definitions that perfectly sum up the rea- son for that name. As a noun team means a group of individuals who work together. As a verb team is defined as coming together to achieve a common goal. Within the city structure we have teams represent- ing individual departments. Those teams work together to make possible youth sports leagues Moonlight Mov- ies the K-9 unit and Amnesty Day among many other programs. Its also important that each department member recognizes his or her role as part of a larger team one that recognizes no departmental boundaries. Youll find many examples of that teamwork in this annual report Domestic Violence Court the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics and something seemingly as simple as decorating the city for Christmas. There is another component to Team Greer that complements the work done by city employees. Our residents are an important part of the wider definition of team as we know it in the city. Have you ever considered yourself to be a part of Team Greer If you shopped in the city in 2015 you helped gross retail sales surpass the 1 billion mark. If you attended Freedom Blast the Greer Goes Global International Festival or another special event at the Events Center at Greer City Hall or Greer City Hall you helped build on a tradition of quality events. If you attended Coffee with a Cop or wore your seatbelt and received a Chick-fil-A gift card at a traffic stop you helped make the city a safer place. If you picked up a City of Greer coloring book for your child you helped teach a lesson about the services your city government provides. If you were among the hundreds of residents who lined the streets to greet and salute the Military Vehicle Preservation Association as it passed through Greer to recreate the Bankhead Highway route you showed the citys very best to those brief visitors. If you were among the thousands who contributed ideas and preferences to the Greer Community Master Plan via the Internet or in person at workshops you have helped shape this community for the next genera- tion and beyond. As you read this annual report consider the many ways that we all make up Team Greer and in turn make the city a better place. We ask our city employees to keep two words in mind as they plan and execute their daily work exceed expectations. Its a philosophy that costs no more but the rewards are many. Im reminded of a comment by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos that sums up our goal We see our customers as invited guests to a party and we are the hosts. Its our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better. Consider the many ways that we all make up Team Greer and in turn make the city a better place. Nearly 1 in 5 Greer residents are millennials attracted by the citys strong business climate job availability low rent near their workplace location and the presence of other millenials. The City of Greer also earned a spot on the SafeWise report of Safest Cities in South Carolina for 2015. The re- port considers all cities with a minimum population of 2000 and uses the most recent FBI crime data to analyze and rank cities. SafeWise praised the City of Greer for making safety a priority as its population continues to grow rapidly. The report says about Greer With new jobs comes an increased population but that doesnt keep Greer from keep- ing crime at bay. In fact there were only 19 robberies reported in 2013. We found many of the cities that made our list embrace the principles of community policing SafeWise security analyst Alex- ia Chianis said. This means citizens and law enforcement work together to identify community problems and develop solutions helping keep their crime rates low. City of Greer Police Chief Dan Reynolds said commu- nity policing is reflected in his departments motto Policing is a Partnership. We have many partners in the community and thats one of the keys to an effective department. Being named one of the safest cities in South Carolina should be celebrated by the entire community Reynolds said. From Neighbor- hood Watch groups to our Citizen Police Academy which is offered twice annually having engaged and aware citizens makes a huge difference. SafeWise is a community-focused security organization committed to increasing safety education awareness and preparedness. City collects honors for safety business 2 Word continues to get out about why the City of Greer is a great place to live work and do business. Online finance site NerdWallet recognized the city in back-to-back months in 2015 as the fourth best city in South Carolina to start a business and third best in the state for millennial job seekers. The business study examined communities with popu- lations over 7000 and more than 500 businesses. The two areas of focus were business climate and local economic health. These were calculated by a total of six variables in- cluding average revenue of businesses number of business- es per 100 people annual median income and unemploy- ment rate. Whether we are working to retain our existing business base or recruiting a new business or industry to Greer our focus is always first and foremost making sure that it is easy to do business in Greer said Wryley Bettis Chairman of the Greer Development Corporation. Good partnerships a great community and listening to the needs of our business community will ensure that Greer continues to grow to be the very best that it can be. NerdWallet described Greer with the following para- graph This city is the site of the only BMW automotive manufacturing facility in North America. Greer has grown 54 from 2000 to 2013 and now its home to a young and diverse population. Small businesses benefit from its grow- ing population and through the efforts of organizations such as Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce and Greer Devel- opment Corp. which helps owners of specialty shops and restaurants. Businesses in Greer have high average revenues of 2184227 which is 139 more than the average busi- ness in South Carolina. Businesses in the City of Greer recognize and value such outstanding services and amenities as police and fire protection infrastructure assistance and street lighting low- er utility costs and the citys ideal location in the center of the I-85 corridor. With four consecutive years of record gross retail sales in the city its evident that the City of Greer is a great place to do business said City of Greer Administrator Ed Driggers. Gross retail sales top 1 billion The City of Greers gross retail sales figure for Fiscal Year 2015 was notable not only because it marked a record for the fifth consecutive year but also because it was the citys first year surpassing the billion dollar mark. Reno Deaton executive director of the Greer Devel- opment Corporation made the announcement at the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerces October First Friday Lun- cheon that city businesses earned 1034016761 in gross retail sales an increase of 23 over Fiscal Year 2014. The total is nearly a 93 increase over the pre-reces- sion high in 2008. Congratulations to the businesses of the City of Greer. They have made Greer a retail destination and they have developed a winning strategy to support Greers grow- ing population. With great customer service an attractive product mix continued high traffic counts and the support of a robust and growing community Greer will continue to see consistent retail growth Deaton said. Mark Owens president and CEO of the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce said the six-year gross retail sales figures show that the City of Greer has lead the Upstate out of the recession. Not many communities have both residential and commercial growth at the same time but were very fortu- nate to have that in Greer. As residents find the City of Greer a great place to live more businesses are wanting to locate near those neighborhoods Owens said. Retail sales are a 3 great figure for the pulse of our economy. It reflects both the growth and vibrancy we have in the community. I think its a huge justification of the time and commitment that goes into economic development not only recruiting new businesses but also helping those that are already here grow. Greer City Administrator Ed Driggers said he is very encouraged by the trending figures. We monitor our retail sales closely to determine if there are any possible issues which we may need to be aware of. What we are seeing is a positive upward trend. It is a combination of new businesses opening and existing busi- nesses seeing an increase in overall sales Driggers said. An overall positive economy a growing community with higher disposable incomes more shopping opportunities flexible shopping hours all of these provide the right cli- mate for economic success. Not many communities have both residential and commercial growth at the same time but were very fortunate to have that in Greer. Safe drivers earn sweet rewards Coffee with a Cop brings together residents and Greer police officers The sight of a traffic stop ahead can make even the most careful driver wince. Is my license up to date How about the registration Where is my insurance card The key to stops operated by the Greer Police Depart- ment in September was seat belt use. Drivers who were properly buckled up and each of their passengers as well were rewarded with a gift card for a free Frosted Lemonade treat or parfait dessert at Chick- fil-A of Greer. This is a way to congratulate and reward drivers for doing the right thing and wearing their seatbelts Sgt. Ran- dle Ballenger said. Children especially will remember this for a long time. Seat belt use one of the best habits a driver can adopt is a cause that Chick-fil-A owner Bill Tyler could easily support. Tyler gifted the cards to the city and the police de- partment distributed them during traffic stops in all areas of the city. Fox Carolina joined in as reporter Joe Gagnon was live at Chick-fil-A for four hours. Chick-fil-A employees Sgt. Ballenger and communications manager Steve Owens were interviewed about the program and partnerships with city businesses. Children especially will remember this for a long time. 4 There was a time when neighborhoods and business owners knew their local police officers by name and would chat as they walked the local beat. Growth over the past century has changed that dynamic although Greer patrol officers still make an effort to introduce themselves to new residents and business owners. In an effort to recapture some of that one-on-one relationship the Greer Police Department established its Coffee with a Cop program in 2015. The sergeants in charge of each of the citys four policing areas hosted a morning session at which residents and businesses were invited to meet and chat about local policing efforts. Daily demands dont always allow personal meetings so Coffee with a Cop helped set aside a time to meet and communicate Sgt. Chad Richardson said. Weve enjoyed getting to know people of all ages in the city better and want them to know who to call if they ever have a question or a need for service. City takes the lead in ADA compliance ICMA honors performance management 5 The International CityCounty Man- agement Association ICMA has rec- ognized the City of Greer with a Cer- tificate of Achievement from the ICMA Center for Performance Analytics for the citys performance management ef- forts. The certificate program recognizes the principles of performance manage- ment said Randall H. Reid ICMA Di- rector of Performance Initiatives. Ju- risdictions meeting the qualifications have demonstrated leadership in con- tinuous improvement and community engagement and they serve as exam- ples for other governments to follow. ICMA assesses a local govern- ments performance management pro- gram and encourages analysis of results by comparing to peers and gauging performance over time. Performance management aids in cost reduction program prioritization and quality im- provement. It also encourages account- ability and transparency. One of our goals as a city is to engage residents and to make avail- able information that they can easily access said Mike Sell the City of Greers Assistant City Administrator. We have practiced financial transpar- ency for many years and it is an honor to now be recognized for our work in performance management. Certificates are awarded at the lev- els of Achievement Distinction and Excellence. Greer is among five ju- risdictions receiving the Certificate of Achievement and one of 48 recog- nized overall. Criteria for the Certificate of Achievement include Reporting of performance data to the public through budgets newsletters andor information provided to elected officials. Data verification efforts to en- sure reliability. Staff training. ICMAs Center for Performance Analytics is dedicated to helping local governments use performance infor- mation to better the lives of the people they serve. The Center encourages the use and public reporting of perfor- mance information in a positive con- tinuous-learning environment in order to foster organizational cultures that deliver results that matter. The citys performance manage- ment site is located under the Govern- ment tab at www.cityofgreer.org. Some may take for granted the en- joyment of watching a summer block- buster at Greer City Park as part of the Moonlight Movies series. City officials have spent consider- able time making certain that parks and other city facilities comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and are accessible to all individuals. Calling the City of Greer a leader in the Upstate among municipalities working to improve access for all in- dividuals the Center for Independent Living ABLE South Carolina honored the city with its 2015 Respectable Award. The Federal Emergency Manage- ment Agency FEMA was the only other government organization recog- nized at ABLE South Carolinas annual meeting in Columbia. All cities and counties are required by law to meet ADA standards but you would have a difficult time finding one that is fully compliant said Ruthie Helms the City of Greers ADA Coor- dinator. Some cities arent even fully aware of the requirements set forth by the ADA. The City of Greer has worked dili- gently with Greenville CAN a network of self advocates service providers families and community stakeholders working collaboratively to ensure ac- cess for those in need. In July the City of Greer hosted an ADA training session for city and county government representatives from across the Upstate. ABLE SC leaders taught the sessions and Helms also addressed the crowd. The training which was held in collaboration with greenvilleCAN and Ten at the Top was the first organized and comprehensive training session of its kind in the Upstate. Were proud that the City of Greer is recognized as a city that takes acces- sibility seriously and works to accom- modate all citizens Helms said. Structuring Alliance brings together elected and appointed city officials 6 Maintaining effective communication between elected officials and appointed officials of the citys various boards and commissions is especially important when their various decisions are expected to fit like cogs in a well-oiled ma- chine to benefit all in the city. The City of Greers Planning and Zoning Office deter- mined the way to keep that machine running smoothly was to bring members of those various leadership committees to- gether in the same room to achieve a general understanding of the shared responsibilities and interconnected impacts of each body. That happened in September when members of Greer City Council the Greer Planning Commission Board of Zoning Appeals and Board of Architectural Review gathered at City Hall to consider such topics as transportation land use planning and legal opinions and how they relate to their specific function. Glenn Pace planning and zoning coordinator said its rare for a citys multiple councils and boards to gather for such a meeting. Our goals were to provide education to conference attendees by discussing how decisions impact and affect others to develop and improve relationships and foster a dialog to gather information for decision-making processes that impact other roles and responsibilities Pace said. We reached out to various parties to create a well-rounded conference schedule and looked at various surrounding municipalities and governmental organizations to determine areas of focus that are relevant to Greers cur- rent and future development. The awareness of elected and appointed officials was increased by facilitating an open forum during the presenta- tion of local regional and national issues as they relate to Greer and the surrounding community. Those gathered not only learned more about each other but emerged with a new respect about the role each plays. Pace and his staff created and distributed the link to a web- site with all presentations and relevant articles as an interac- tive recap of the Structuring Alliance. Pace said the city plans to make the Structuring Alli- ance a biennial event. This showed the importance of interconnected roles in decision making. Glenn Pace Greer Goes Global... again 7 Musicians and dancers representing Haiti above and Mexico right were among the many performers keeping Greer City Park jumping during the second annual Greer Goes Global International Festival. The beat of a Haitian drum blended perfectly with Latin guitars on a beautiful April day at Greer City Park as dancers swirled and people of all nationalities clapped along in the amphitheater. The scene perfectly summed up the goal of the second annual Greer Goes Global International Festival that brought together exhibits and performances representing more than 40 countries and cultures. It honestly couldnt have gone better. We had great participation from a variety of countries and a huge crowd eager to learn more about them said Ann Cunningham director of the Parks and Recreation Department. One of the unique things about Greer Goes Global is that it is an interactive experience so guests get to participate and try their hand at different activities. Exhibit tents included vast information on such countries as Great Britain Japan Bolivia Panama France India Colombia and South Korea. Natives and experts with ties to the countries answered questions about food sports politics and other aspects of life there. The Japan tent was the site of a popular sushi-making and tasting event. Guests were invited to enjoy a hot dog and popcorn representing the United States or expand their tastes with a German pretzel a churro pita and hummus gyros souvlaki eggrolls and tacos and fajitas. A bottle of Jarritos soft drink from Mexico was perfect to wash it all down. The festival was started in 2014 assisted by a grant from Ten at the Top. Although rain forced that inaugural festival indoors there were no such problems in 2015 as bright sun- shine and unseasonably warm temperatures greeted visitors. It also allowed festival coordinators to expand the childrens craft area and indoor performances in the Events Center at Greer City Hall. Hundreds of families enjoyed free activities like face painting coloring storytelling a magic show and costumed characters such as Dora the Explorer. The amphitheater was the site of the Festival of Nations during which representatives marched in with the flags of all participating nations as well as Celtic music and Irish danc- ing and interactive global drumming presentation Chinese dancers jazz music and a belly dancing demonstration. The City Park lawn was crowded throughout the day with a variety of activities including lawn chess cricket tai chi and karate. The 2016 Greer Goes Global International Festival will be held on April 9 at Greer City Park. According to the Washington-based Violence Policy Centers four most recent annual polls South Carolina ranked either first or second in the United States among women murdered by men in single victim single offender incidents. Those homicides and other criminal domestic violence numbers are unacceptable to officials in the cities of Greer and Simpsonville which partnered with the S.C. Attorney Generals office to establish domestic violence courts. The once-monthly court sessions began in October and are held the second Thursday of each month. Im excited about this opportunity. South Carolina is leading the nation in domestic violence deaths so were clearly not doing something right said Henry J. Mims municipal judge for the City of Greer. Our first charge is to make sure defendants have fair treatment. Thats always fore- most. But we have to understand that victims have rights too. And its more than just a criminal issue. The impacts range from economic loss the kids the rest of the families and the community in general. If we can draft good solutions and get away from cookie cutter solutions we can make a difference. The specialty court is the first of its kind for any Up- state municipality. Three South Carolina counties including Greenville and nine cities in the Midlands and Lowcountry currently have courts dealing exclusively with domestic violence cases. Megan Gresham an assistant attorney general in the S.C. Attorney Generals office since 2012 visits both cities monthly to prosecute cases. She frequently holds training for court officials judges lawyers police officers and others on DV issues and prosecutes cases involving violence against women including domestic violence criminal sexual con- duct harassment and stalking. Greshams services are part of the S.T.O.P. Violence Against Women program established by the S.C. Attorney Generals office in 1996 with grant monies provided by the federal Violence Against Women Act the first national legislation to specifically target criminal domestic violence and other abusive behaviors toward women. Richard Moore chief judge for the City of Simpson- ville said Greshams participation is integral to the new courts success. The proposal extended by theAttorney Generals office results in that office essentially taking over the prosecution of domestic violence cases whether it be from a plea bench trial or jury trial standpoint he said. It is our belief that having the resources of the Attorney Generals office better enables the city to serve its citizens and their needs as they pertain to this issue by allowing a single prosecutor to deal only with those particular issues in our court rather than grouping them with the other myriad of issues handled by our court system and our city prosecutor on a daily basis. Kirsten Pressley court administrator for the City of Greer had considered implementing a domestic violence court for several years but realized the city was not yet ready for the specialized court. Ive continuously analyzed the numbers the percent- ages the increases and a few months ago decided that this is really the time for us to be involved in something like this she said adding that the victim advocacy division of the Greer Police Department was generating a similar proposal. We knew it was the right time. Pressley said court and police officials from the two cities recognized the collective benefits of the new court and had all details worked out in an hour. This will benefit the entire community Pressley said. In one session we can bring together the police officer a specialized prosecutor the victim advocate the victim witnesses the defendant the defense attorney representatives from batterer treatment programs and representatives from domestic violence shelters who provide counseling for the victims of domestic violence. Earlier in 2015 South Carolina lawmakers took a tougher stance on the crime by passing the Domestic Violence Reform Act. The bill signed on June 4 by Gov. Nikki Haley allows for harsher penalties based on the number of times an individual has been charged with domestic violence and the severity of the crime. Court tackles domestic violence 8 The City of Greer has a simple message for children who want to learn more about services and programs of- fered by their local municipality Get out your crayons or markers and have fun. The citys Communications Office has produced At Home in the City of Greer a 32-page coloring and activi- ty book designed to help children learn more about city government and ser- vices. Students begin learning about all levels of government early in their el- ementary school careers so a coloring book with familiar events and land- marks seemed like the ideal way to in- troduce them to city government said Steve Owens communications manag- er for the City of Greer. The city of- fers services and programs that touch their families lives every day and this is a fun way to introduce those. Who knows Maybe it will spark a desire for the young people to become more involved in local government as they grow older. The book includes such local land- marks as Greer City Hall Greer City Park Kids Planet Playground Greer Station and the Police and Court Com- plex. Children may color pictures of city firefighters police officers and building inspectors as well as such events as Freedom Blast the Inter- national Festival and Moonlight Movies. Services represent every- thing from the recycling program to youth sports. Owens said branding the coloring book to Greer was im- portant so children would rec- ognize buildings and scenes from events they attend. He connected with Greer native Roy Miller Jr. a talented artist who spent his own childhood in Greer and now resides in Philadelphia to create the art. A graduate of the Philadelphia College of Art Millers work has graced the covers of the Strawbridge Clothier Christmas catalog and has ap- peared in the Toronto Star Ebony the Saturday Evening Post childrens mag- azines Inside Magazine the Jewish Exponent and The Greer Citizen. His work has been highlighted at the Greer Heritage Museum and an example of his building artwork hangs in the Greer State Bank boardroom. Coloring book introduces kids to services 9 Im proud that the city picked me to be of assistance in the books creation. I love my hometown. I have many good memories from my child- hood days there until we moved when I was eight years old Miller said. Free copies of the coloring and activity book are being offered at Greer City Hall and the City of Greer Operations Center. Digital copies of the books may also be downloaded at www.cityofgreer.org. Custom art by Greer native Roy Miller Jr. helps children identify landmarks and events 10 Lakota is a hit at Freedom Blast The City of Greers Freedom Blast Festival added a pop- ular new wrinkle in 2015 thanks to the generosity of the South Carolina Air and Army National Guard. A Lakota helicopter from the Donaldson Center made the short flight to Greer City Park and landed near E. Poinsett Street to the excitement of those who arrived early to the festival. The crew arrived at the park earlier in the day but were forced to make an early departure due to heavy storms an hour before the festival began. However as skies cleared the chop of helicopter blades was heard and the Lakota buzzed over the crowd before making a perfect landing on the lawn. Shortly after securing the aircraft the crew allowed chil- dren to inspect the helicopter and posed for photos with young and old alike. Work began very early on getting approval for the heli- copter because that can be a lengthy process. Given the mission of Freedom Blast I think its something the Army really wanted to make happen said Randle Ballenger a sergeant with both the Greer Police Department and the S.C. Army National Guard. The National Guard has long been an active participant in the festival that honors the commitment made by active U.S. servicemen and servicewomen and veterans in the Upstate. Given the mission of Freedom Blast I think its something the Army really wanted to make happen. 11 Teens learn policing skills at academy The Greer Police Departments bi-annual Citizens Academy program has proven to be one of its more popular offerings even spawning an alumni association with active graduates who assist the department at various city events. The academy was limited to adults until last summer when the departments school resource officers coordinated a two-week companion summer program geared to middle school boys and girls. Rolled out as the Youth Citizens Police Academy the two two-week sessions separated by gender with an identi- cal curriculum included daily physical training classroom work team building exercises and attending graduation at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy in Columbia. Key areas covered in the department were community policing crime prevention patrol procedures vice and nar- cotics investigation and the detention facility. The purpose of the Youth Citizens Police Academy is to encourage responsible citizenship and increase un- derstanding between the youth and the police through ed- ucation Lt. Jim Holcombe said. The intent is to acquaint youth with law enforcements role in the criminal justice system and to provide increased understanding of issues faced by police officers every day. The idea for the youth academy came from department school resource officers Ashley Wright and Joel Galli. Our SRO program is probably one of the most valu- able programs that we have in the community Police Chief Dan Reynolds said. Young people get to learn about the police talk to them and make friends with them at the school level. A lot of times these kids will come to the SRO for guidance when theyre having family problems or other problems at their home. Wright said those connections provided the foundation for the Youth Citizens Police Academy. We started out last December with an idea of how we could reach out and engage the youth of our community in a positive manner Wright said. Two key components that we instilled in our cadets are leadership and pride. The boys group known as Class Echo included 14 cadets from five area schools. Wright said the first weeks activities were crucial to building a team. Some of them knew each other coming in but most of them didnt. During activities the first week the boys real- ly opened up and began working as a team she said. Each cadet pushed himself and his teammates to new limits. I couldnt be more proud of them. Thirteen girls comprised Class Gamma girls at their July graduation ceremony. Only negative incidents involving our youth seem to get public attention. This program focuses on the positive activities of our youth and very seldom do we get an oppor- tunity to show the good things that our young people accom- plish Reynolds said. These are tough times for police and communities he added. Police are under more scrutiny and are being asked to be more transparent and engaged in our communities. This department has always done that and we will continue to find ways to do that so we can maintain a close working relationship with our community. Eighth-grader Jacob Barnett who was recognized as Outstanding Cadet for Class Echo said he chose to apply for the academy because he is considering criminal justice as a career. This seemed like a good way to meet new people and become more familiar with police work he said. Every- thing was really fun and Id like to do it again but its only for sixth through eighth grades so Im hoping to be a high school volunteer next year. His most memorable takeaway I cant slouch any more he said. Really. It hurts if I do. My grandma is proud of that. Joel Galli above center a school resource officer with the Greer Police Department keeps a watchful eye on cadets as they test simulation pistols at the firing range. Below left Class Gamma is all smiles following its graduation ceremony. 12 Parks and Rec tackles renovations Century Park Victor Park Gym and City Stadium all receive a facelift Frequent visitors to the City of Greers Parks and Recreation facilities may notice some major changes thanks to renovation work in 2015 and one major project that will continue into 2016. We constantly strive to keep our facil- ities safe and attractive for the public said Ann Cunningham director of the Parks and Recreation department. We also seek grants and other available funds to do the work as cost-effectively as possible. In 2014 the city was awarded a grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for Century Park and the original press box concessionrestroom facility was razed in the fall of 2015. The matching fund grant was also to fund construction of a replacement facility. The proposed plans for the project include a separate building for concessions with an up- stairs press box and a nearby building located along the promenade that offers restrooms a picnic shelter and a small storage area for pro- gram and maintenance supplies. The projects original scope was expand- ed to address recommended upgrades in storm water drainage and field lighting. Work is ex- pected to begin in late spring of 2016. Victor Gym renovations including painting the gym and replacing the scorer table with one specifically designed for the City of Greer were made possible by combin- ing two cycles of Parks and Recreation Devel- opment funds. Amajor project at the gym was replacing the upstairs room with a larger enclosed area that now encompasses most of the balcony. New walls were constructed to the edge of the balcony and the ceiling was left open with drop lights and exposed ductwork for the new HVAC unit. Two new closets were also added. Greer City Stadium received several up- grades including a subterranean drainage sys- tem to remedy continuous soggy field condi- tion in the south end zone. All concrete walls and seating areas were painted repairs were made to an interior catch basin and retaining wall and a new display board was installed. The City of Greer Parks and Recreation Department stayed busy in 2015 with several facility upgrades including demolition of the original press box and concessions building at Century Park to make way for a new building top in 2016. Victor Gym was repainted and now has a custom scorer table and a new classroom upstairs. Greer City Stadium received a new drainage system and other upgrades. 13 Greer was treated to a patriotic parade on Sept. 23 as the Military Vehicle Preservation Association MVPA passed through the city on Poinsett St. The parade of more than 50 military and support ve- hicles celebrated the 95th anniversary of the U.S. Armys cross country trip on the Bankhead Highway. The vehicles followed the same route as the original 1920 Transcontinen- tal Motor Convoy route. The MVPA 2015 Bankhead Convoy left Washington D.C. Sept. 19 on its month-long journey to San Diego. Residents of all ages lined the convoys route past the S.C. Inland Port and Greer City Hall through Greer Station to U.S. 29. The Greer Police Department conduct- ed temporary stops along East and West Poinsett Streets to allow the processional to remain together. I think everyone at MVPA was impressed with the reception they received in Greer Sgt. Randle Ballenger said. I spoke to one of the guys later and they said if they had known what it would be like they would have stayed overnight in Greer. Residents Greet Bankhead Convoy 14 Dogged Determination A Working Dogs Oath I will lay down my life for you and expect nothing but love in return. I protect my officer with my life and would gladly take a bullet in his place. I am sent in to find lost children and fugitives on the run. I find drugs and weapons and even bombs. I am the first sent in and sometimes the last to leave. I am the nose and ears of my officer. I will protect and serve him. I would die for him and for you. I only ask for compassion and a kind word. Greer PD reestablishes K-9 Unit as Boss and Stryker serve as ambassadors for the city Several dogs have earned celebrity status throughout the years thanks to their work in movies and television. Names like Rin Tin Tin Lassie and Benji will bring a smile to many faces. The City of Greers two new K-9 officers may not have the benefit of the silver screen but they are already earning legions of fans in the Upstate and their work extends far beyond the spotlight. Since they hit the streets in May with their handlers Boss and Stryker have been more than earning their keep through drug detection and community goodwill. The German Shepherds from the Czech Republic were certified for tracking and Narcotic Detection through the North American Police Work Dog Association NAPW- DA after completing 160 hours of training. Boss who is partnered with Jordan Williams and Stryker paired with James Compton made an immediate impact in the community. Through their first 96 deploy- ments the dogs accounted for 81 arrests and the seizure of 3.7 pounds of drugs and 58 items of drug parapherna- lia. They seized more than 42000 during their first seven months on the job. They displayed their skills at a Greer City Council meeting last summer quickly detecting illegal drugs hidden in the room earlier that evening. I think its safe to say the dogs have exceeded the expectations of everyone in the department Chief Dan Reynolds said. To see how quickly they detect the scent of illegal drugs and work seamlessly with their handlers is a true validation of our K-9 program. The dogs and their partners are also popular in the community. These K9s are incredibly important ambassadors for not only the police department but the city Williams said. Officer Compton and I along with our K-9 partners are fre- quently visiting schools community meetings and many other public events to speak with members of the commu- nity. These K-9s get us invited to many places where we may not normally have an opportunity to share the vision and goals of the Greer Police Department. The public has been amazing Compton added. It used to be everyone wanted to speak to you because you were an officer. Now the response I get is where is Stryker and where is your better half Seeing the smile of a child is more rewarding than any case I have ever made or person I may have helped. It amazes me how many people will approach us to in- quire about the dogs who would have never approached the police. That gives us an opportunity to bridge that gap 15 Officers Jordan Williams and Boss top make new friends during a visit to the Shriners Hospital in Greenville while Officers James Compton and Stryker stop by a local pre-school to teach children about policing. and hopefully start to change the rela- tionship or negative opinion someone might have had before. The bonding experience between the officers and their dogs is important in building communication and trust. Nearly inseparable they train together monthly to hone their skills. The teams are required by law to complete 16 hours of monthly main- tenance training. They also participate in weekly training sessions with the Greenville County Sheriffs Office. On average the officers complete 32 hours of training each month. K-9 Stryker has bad days the same as anyone else. Its up to me to recognize this behavior and to make sure I get it corrected before being de- ployed in the field. This is why training is so important Compton said adding that Stryker has been 95.25 percent accurate since joining the force. K-9 Stryker is a big kid at heart. All he wants to do is play and get his reward. He doesnt even realize he is providing a much needed service. Williams said Boss exhibits the same traits. He has a great personality. Like with a human partner I can tell when hes excited or tired or bored. Hell of- ten let out a long sigh when Im work- ing on paperwork in the car Williams said If Im having a rough day he is there just wanting to play and it gives me a second wind to take care of what needs to be done. Mayor Rick Danner swears the dogs into office an act that confirms their status as actual police officers. This ensures that anyone who injures either dog would receive a penalty comparable to assaulting a human po- lice officer. Compton and Williams will keep their eyes on Stryker and Boss to keep them safe. They can be certain that their partners are doing the same for them. Working with great people is one of the many reason I do what I do Compton said. Having a K-9 partner just adds to the excitement and fulfill- ment. Its like having a best friend who never gets mad at you. Team Greer carries the torch Special Olympics flame passes through city on its way to International Games in Los Angeles 16 When the City of Los Angeles submitted the win- ning bid to bring the Special Olympics World Summer Games back to the United States for the first time since 1999 city officials were determined to share the excite- ment with the rest of the country and assist with fund- raising. Their plans brought the Special Olympics torch and Flame of Hope to Greer in June as part of the Law Enforcement Torch Run the largest international grass- roots fundraising movement for the Special Olympics. The Flame of Hope was lit by the suns rays on May 14 in Athens Greece and followed three cross-country routes to Los Angeles as part of the Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America. Fundraisers on those routes were given the honor of forming a team and car- rying the lighted torch through their cities. Its energizing and exciting. We love every new team we come across. Our job is to give them the great- est experience possible and they make it easy for us said Michael Teem executive director of the Law En- forcement Torch Run. Every team that weve come across has had a wonderful experience. Theyve walked theyve run theyve biked and rollerbladed. For me seeing a Special Olympics athlete carry that torch just warms my heart. Outside Greer City Hall that honor fell to 24-year- old Natalie Dopp a local Special Olympian born with Downs Syndrome. A broad smile crossed her face as a runner held his torch to hers and transferred the flame. Just to know where the flame is headed and to know that smiles it will bring once it reaches Los An- geles its a great thing to be a part of said Sgt. Chris Forrester who organized the local team among the Greer Police Department. It felt really good to be out there running especially with Natalie and see the excitement and determination on her face. In addition to Dopp Forrester was joined by GPD colleagues Chris Krajenka Jeff Smith and Mary Wood and Caleb Creel of the Parks and Recreation Depart- ments Events Division. Krajenka became associated with Special Olym- pics as a runner and fundraiser for the Law Enforcement Torch Run in 1992 during his 21-year law enforcement career in New Hampshire. He later served as regional coordinator and then as a member of the state executive committee for the torch run. I found that with all the negatives you experience in this line of work Special Olympics was a resounding positive. Awarding a medal to the athletes and seeing the huge smile was awesome. Even the athletes families appre- ciated the effort he said. I was happy to find that Greer PD participates and when volunteers were being sought I was even happier to continue my participation with such a great organization as Special Olympics. The run itself allowed people to observe the good works of the PD and Special Olympics. Despite all the neg- ative press aimed at law enforcement over the last couple years this association with Special Olympics only helps show that there are plenty of good hardworking officers do- ing positive things for their community. Plans for the run were set in motion when Sgt. Randle Ballenger was contacted by the national organization with a request for traffic control in Greer. When Forrester who had previously participated in Law Enforcement Torch Runs for Upstate Special Olympics learned of the flames journey to Greer the avid runner knew the city had others who would support a team. The important thing is running for a cause whether youre running a marathon for personal goals or the torch run for a purpose and other people. No matter how fast or how slow youre going youre running for a special purpose and this is an historic thing to be a part of he said. Law Enforcement Torch Runs annually raise more than 50 million for Special Olympics. The Greer team 17 raised more than 3300 and was given one of the commem- orative torches used during the run. The group was escorted through Greer by vehicles and officers from the Los Angeles Police Department the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Office and other law enforcement personnel involved in the torch run. Ive made many friends with officers all over the country during my volunteerism with the Special Olympics and during this run I was able to rekindle friendships with officers I had participated with in the running of the torch for the World Games held in Alaska in 2000 Krajenka said. Running with Natalie was awesome. She showed that the participants of Special Olympics are truly athletes. During the run she continued to have a big smile and hung in there with the run. Initially planned for a stretch of the Greer route the local team eventually logged nearly six miles. I counted it as an honor to be able to participate in such an event Smith said. I was truly blown away at the tenacity displayed by Natalie. There were times during the run where you could tell she was getting fatigued but instead of riding in the cart she would fight through it. This in return motivated us who were participating to run stronger. It was a great time for us and it was evident that Natalie had an awesome time as well. Teem who retired in 2010 as a major with the Raleigh N.C. Police Department has devoted his time to the Law Enforcement Torch Run for the past 25 years and is a mem- ber of the International Torch Run Hall of Fame. Despite that work the scope of the Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America left him unprepared for what a 46-day run would hold. This is the first time weve done a torch run across the country and we really didnt know what to expect Teem said. But its exceeded our expectations. People have come in all of these communities to raise money so they can car- ry that torch and be a part of this great movement. Special Olympics touches your heart. I know its touched mine. Forrester said that impact became evident during the run. While we were running there were a lot of citizens standing outside and sitting in their cars as we passed For- rester said. You could tell that some were a little frustrated at the delay but when they saw the reason and saw Natalie out there they would pull out their phones and cheer us on. We had great support from the community. Chris Krajenka third from left leads Team Greer as the torchbearer during the Law Enforcement Torch Run. The team included from left Natalie Dopp Chris Forrester Krajenka Caleb Creel Mary Wood and Jeff Smith. Only one step away Officer Clay Anderson sternly called for a suspected drunk driver to stay in his vehicle but the man waved off the command before stepping out with his hands in his pockets. Anderson again barked orders at the seemingly intoxicated man who continued to ignore the officers commands. Finally a command for the man to show his hands was met with a quick draw of a handgun and rapid pop of shots. Anderson returned fire and the man slumped against his car before sliding to the pavement a tragic and unavoidable ending to a deadly scenario. Then the lights came on. Firearms simulator puts officers in life or death situations 18 Police officers live with the reality that any call on any given day has the potential to turn deadly. Handling those calls calmly and responsibly and acting on experience often is the key to resolving an incident peacefully or needing to use force. Thats easier said than done when no officer wants to put himself or herself in dangerous situations for the sake of training. A new training tool allows the citys police officers to experience a variety of potentially deadly scenarios virtually without ever leaving the departments training room. GPD is now using the Meggitt L7 compact firearms training simulator that projects realistic video from more than 500 scenarios on a wide screen. As a police officer in- teracts with the characters on the screen a computer operator has the ability to adjust the scene to have characters respond to the commands or become more belligerent. That non-linear storyline allows police officers to ex- perience a range of outcomes and gain valuable experience that may save their lives. We can put them into a potentially deadly situation without really putting them in danger. It can end peacefully or with a firearms situation said Sgt. Chris Forrester the Greer Police Departments training officer. Its not exactly the real thing but its probably only one step away. The 75000 system which was purchased with seized funds includes a Glock handgun and an M4 rifle nearly iden- tical to the ones used by the department. The actual weapons have been retrofitted with a laser system that allows it to interact with each video scene. A magazine with compressed air provides recoil equivalent to a .22 caliber weapon and speakers sync each report when the trigger is squeezed. Its not just firearms training. Its about our overall communication Forrester said. When you get into a situ- ation like this your heart rate goes up and adrenaline pumps which can affect your decision making. We want to make sure as many incidents as possible end peacefully. As the screen bursts back to life a woman with a knife screams at imaginary figures to stay away from her. Ander- son repeatedly instructs the woman to calm down and prom- ises her help. After 20 tense seconds she drops the knife and backs away bringing the scene to a peaceful conclusion. If you treat it real and act like its real youll get a lot out of this training he said. The Bluetooth-enabled system allows trainees full range of motion as they work through scenarios. Forrester said it allows expansion to include use of a Taser and baton and hopes to include those options in future budget years. The department also plans to offer the training to neighboring agencies to help gain valuable experience. Going to the range and shooting a target isnt going to help you when you get into a certain situation GPD Chief Dan Reynolds said. This does. We can put them into a potentially deadly situation without really putting them in danger. It can end peacefully or with a firearms situation. 19 Officer Clay Anderson takes aim at a target under the watchful eye of a television camera as the Greer Police Department held a demonstration for the news media of its Meggitt L7 compact firearms training system in September. The department purchased the system with seized funds. The advanced software that runs the firearms training system allows different scenarios to occur on the screen. The operator may change a scenario to life-threatening with a mouse click. Seamless. Thats how Partnership for Tomorrow officials describe the expected transition from the first Greer Community Master Plan to the new version that was introduced in May to an overflow crowd at the Cannon Centre. The celebration was the culmination of more than a year of planning and public meetings to determine how over the next 15 years to create a more livable community by enhancing cultural activities and establishing an environment for growth and development opportunities. Putting all the Pieces TogetherResidents celebrate roll out of the second Greer Community Master Plan 20 If seamless was one of the buzzwords surround- ing the roll out of the Greer Community Master Plan it certainly could have been accompanied by another word ambitious. A 150-page report compiled by Kim- ley-Horn and Associates Inc. a planning and consult- ing firm commissioned by Partnership for Tomorrow to aid in developing aspects of the plan was distributed on branded flash drives to those attending the launch and made available at www.plangreer.com. We accomplished so many things in the first campaign that we were faced with how to step up the game said Brian Martin a Greer attorney and chair of the Partnership for Tomorrow. How would we make it more of a challenge for us to reach those goals But when you put great minds together you come up with great ideas. Were fortunate to be in a great community where people want to jump in and participate. The first community master plan launched in 1999 was designed to re-energize the downtown business district where empty storefronts surrounded nine-to- five shops. Before we started the Partnership for Tomorrow you could stand at the top of Trade St. at six oclock at night and fire a cannon and never hit a person or a car. Today you can hardly find a parking space said long- time Partnership for Tomorrow chair Larry Wilson one of the founders of the public-private partnership. This new plan is taking a much broader scope. Its multi-fac- eted and covers a much broader area than the first plan that focused so much on our core area. I think were now just building off of that first plan looking at infra- structure where we want folks to live where we want commercial development to be and many other things that people in our community will reap the benefits for many years to come from this master plan. I would say unequivocally that the first plan was a success. And this one is going to be even bigger. The new plan focuses on four major corridors in the city the downtown central business district Wade Hampton Boulevard U.S. Highway 29 S.C. High- way 101 and S.C. Highway 14. Those corridors were specifically targeted because of their susceptibility to change and their ability to accommodate future growth as the city and Greater Greer evolves. Areas in need of attention or most likely able to accommodate future growth downtown include Greer I would say unequivocally that the first plan was a success. And this one is going to be even bigger. 21 Station particularly areas on the south end of Trade Street between Trade Street and City Park the Victor Mill area and the North Main Street Corridor. Goals include connecting Trade Street to Greer City Park enhancing the critical mass of downtown retailers and restaurants adding downtown employers and residences to support downtown retail and restaurants and connecting N. Main Poinsett and TradePelham to adjacent neighborhoods to promote walkability. Creating an Arts District south of Greer Station between the existing CSX and Norfolk Southern railroad tracks will allow Greer to rehabilitate warehouses and industrial buildings into unique interesting spaces. Along Highway 29 the goal is to maintain and enhance the corridor with increased site development and design standards establish architectural standards to create a gateway to Greer Station at Poinsett Street and fostering opportunities to diversify land uses along Wade Hampton including mixed-use buildings and multi-use sites that include office andor residential. Goals for the Highway 14 corridor include improving the appearance and environment of the gateway from I-85 downtown fostering a more significant employment area with supporting commercial projects and provid- ing an appropriate transition from I-85 and SC 14 to anticipated residential growth to the east and south. On Highway 101 goals include creating a connection for the north side of I-85 and encouraging more em- ployment along the west side of the corridor. The report emphasizes five high priorities Pursue and potentially incentivize new employment and residential development in and adjacent to Greer Station. The growth of downtown is dependent on the health of adjacent neighborhoods and employment centers. Greer has a significant opportunity to market neighborhoods and employment opportunities close to its vibrant and successful downtown. Implement gateway improvements. Greer has the opportunity to announce to visitors where the community begins and where it transitions into downtown through strategic gateway enhancements. Complete the pedestrian master plan with specific guidance for enhancing the pedestrian experience in Greer by inventorying projects identifying dedicated funding and seeking partnerships for implementation. Establish a Public Art Commission and develop a public art master plan that inventory existing public art identify potential funding partners and leverage publicprivate partnerships to create more art in the City of Greer. Acquire Victor Mill and develop a plan for Victor Mill Park. This mill is a legacy for Greer and the current site detracts from the community. It offers a substantial opportunity to transition from an eyesore to a significant asset. The master plan promotes connectivity in communities with recreation parks and trails. It recommends con- necting any new community facility Stevens Field Veterans Park Victor Park and downtown with pedestrian and bicycle trails. Work on that master plan which is being facilitated by the citys Parks and Recreation Department was already underway when the Greer Community Master Plan was unveiled. Smart planning and adherence to the first Greer Community Master Plan proved to be transformational for the Greater Greer community. Expanding the new plan was critical as planners estimate that based on current trends and growth studies the Greer area may be home to as many as 100000 residents by 2030. The growth thats going on in this community is tremendous and I feel it every day when I unlock my door and the phone is ringing and things need to be done. I suspect its like that for many others Martin said. Theres a sense that were set to have an explosion of growth and were blessed to have a city council city administrator and organizations that understand whats coming. Theyre excited about it but have the forethought to know how to control it and make it good for everybody. Growth and development is never good if you grow faster than you are able to accommodate it. Thanks to planning the community has been able to accommodate its surge in population largely young families flocking to the area thanks to employers like BMW Manufacturing Co. and Mitsubishi Polyester Inc. The Greer area experienced a 2.4 percent growth rate annually over the past 15 years compared to just a 1.1 percent annual growth rate in the Greenville-Spartanburg area. 22 The number of people who were involved in this process was tremendous. Seeking input from those new residents about neighborhoods shopping food entertainment and transportation was a key to creating a blueprint for the next 15 years. More than 1000 members of the com- munity attended workshops and participated in online surveys. The new plan also includes recommendations from officials in both Spartanburg and Greenville coun- ties as well as the S.C. Department of Transportation. One of the things we understand is that we have a very diverse and engaged community. The number of people who were involved in this process was tre- mendous Mayor Rick Danner said. From a planning standpoint thats invaluable because the more input you get and the more perspectives you get the more thorough your plan is going to be. Downtown homeowner Allison Ringer was one resident eager to take part in the planning process af- ter witnessing results of the original community master plan. We moved here in 2006 and our original plan was to maybe stay five years and then move somewhere else. We saw all the improvements that Greer was mak- ing downtown and we decided to stay because Greer was becoming so awesome Ringer said. I love that I can just walk to the Stomping Grounds coffee shop at any time. I can walk to about four playgrounds with my kids. Its just a great lifestyle. Watching the original community master plan be- come a reality was encouraging to Greer City Admin- istrator Ed Driggers who chaired the committee tasked with producing the new community master plan. Far too often communities will commission these plans and they will be placed on a shelf. Greer was very intentional that the first community master plan was go- ing to be a very viable document for us as we continued to evaluate and plan and invest for our future Driggers said. So as the plan identified what we would do in Greer Station and what we would do with a municipal As we write the next chapter were going at it as one community. complex and a city park we were able to take the ele- ments of the plan and literally come back to make our investments. We always knew that there needed to be a follow up to the original community master plan but we need- ed to be able to work through that original plan first. Through the efforts of Partnership for Tomorrow the Chamber of Commerce the City CPW our business partners and obviously residents both in the city and in the Greater Greer community weve been able to in- volve all of those folks in the planning process. I think thats been one of the great successes of this process. As the first plan was rolled out Martin was a young attorney in downtown Greenville looking for a place to open his own practice. After visiting the Greer Cham- ber of Commerce and looking at a summary of the first plan he knew Greer was the location he was seeking. When I opened it up and saw the ideas the desire and the innovation I knew that if Greer was such a for- ward-thinking community to come up with something like that then it was a place I wanted to be and be a part of Martin said. Ive never come across or talked to anybody who can describe anything close to what weve done in Greer with Partnership for Tomorrow. All of the people organizations and entities that have stake in the community whether its economic or quali- ty of life can come together and work together. Its not about who gets the credit for making a road get paved or bringing in a company. Everyone understands that if we all work together we all benefit. That understanding has generated strong support for the Partnership for Tomorrows fifth campaign. Wil- son announced at the May celebration that pledges had reached 1.6 million well exceeding the 1.2 million goal. The total included a 1 million pledge from the City of Greer. As the applause and music faded and the last of the revelers left the Cannon Centre Greer was left with 24 an energized group of residents business owners and community leaders ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work on that seamless transition. The first plan was fantastic and its created some amazing things. Now were writing a new chapter to add to that. We have a great foundation to build on said Mark Owens President and CEO of the Greater More than 70 individuals filed into the Cannon Centre in Sep- tember to learn more about pre- liminary plans to add walking and bicycle trails in downtown Greer and to offer input on where those proposed trails should be expand- ed. Jean Crowther of Alta Plan- ning Design led a brief program on the proposed connected net- work of on- and off-street bike- ways walkways and trails that provide safe and family-friendly access between neighborhoods and community destinations for all ages and abilities. The plan is an outgrowth from the Greer Community Master Plan. Crowther said implementing the recommendations described in the plan will compliment con- nect and enhance existing assets of the community such as Greer City Park Century Park Main Street and Greer Station among others. Recommendations may also better connect Greer with neighboring communities such as Taylors Duncan and Greenville. When realized this plan will enhance the economic vitality cultural assets and overall health and well-being of Greer and its residents Crowther said. Work on the Downtown Walking and bicycling master plan emerges Greer Chamber of Commerce. Weve created a great plan but now its time to get started and its exciting to have so many people of all ages incomes and back- grounds ready to work on it. I think the planning process has really brought the community together. As we write the next chapter were going at it as one community. Walking and Bicycling Master Plan which is being facilitated by the citys Parks and Recreation Depart- ment began in March with the first steering committee meeting. Alta Planning Design con- ducted an existing conditions anal- ysis and offered preliminary recom- mendations leading up to the public workshop. The plans final draft presented to Greer City Council in Decem- ber identifies four priority trails that would connect in downtown Greer Station Main Street Poinsett Street Trade and Pelham streets and a connection to Century Park. When youre talking about this walking and bicycling mas- ter plan youre talking about how people move around Greer how people experience Greer how people get outdoors are active and healthy how families interact and how neighbors connect to each other Crowther said. Thats re- ally the overarching vision and feel of this plan looking at how we can change the infrastructure and how people experience Greer. 25 26 FINANCE REPORT Each December Greer City Council receives a thor- ough report of the citys financial report from independent auditors. Council members certainly enjoyed what they heard regarding the report for the fiscal year that ended June 30 2015. Lee Grissom an engagement manager with S. Preston Douglas Associates LLP told council that the citys Com- prehensive Annual Financial Report received an unqualified opinion the highest level of assurance of fair and accurate reporting. In addition to reporting the financial results of the City Grissom expressed his appreciation and congratulated the Citys Finance Department for maintaining low turnover which builds consistency and knowledge aiding in the re- view of the financial information by the auditors. Key highlights for the fiscal year The assets and deferred outflows of resources of the City of Greer exceeded its liabilities at the close of the most re- cent fiscal year by 17428236 net position. The various categories in net position report the restrictions on the use of funds for specific purposes as well as to meet the govern- ments ongoing obligation to citizens and creditors. As of the close of the current fiscal year the City of Greers governmental funds reported combined ending fund balanc- es of 14002640 a net change of 1530115. At the end of the fiscal year unassigned fund balance for the general fund was 8455131 or 41.0 of the June 30 2016 fiscal years budgeted general fund expenditures and transfers. The 1261917 increase is primarily a result of the improved economic activity in construction business licenses and related permits generating revenues in excess of budget of approximately 878000. The increase can also be attributed to additions to the citys tax base occurring through annexation and development which resulted in an increase of approximately 411000 of tax revenue over the prior year. Additionally councils and managements com- mitment to improving the financial stability of the city is re- flected in the citys results in finishing the year under budget for expenditures. The citys long-term obligations decreased by 1729081 from 21445075 to 19715994 a reduction of 8.1 as principal payments outpaced new borrowing. The Comprehensive Annual Financial Report for the past fiscal year and previous years is available on the citys website for public inspection. The Finance Office also celebrated the receipt of its eighteenth consecutive Certificate of Achievement for Ex- cellence in Financial Reporting CAFR. The honor given by the non-profit Government Finance Officers Association GFOA of the United States and Canada is designed to en- courage state and local governments to go beyond the mini- mum requirements of generally accepted accounting princi- ples to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports that evidence the spirit of transparency and full disclosure. The City of Greer website www.cityofgreer.org plays a major role in making sure that residents have easy access to financial information. Residents may monitor City of Greer finances monthly through a web dashboard that offers a comprehensive and interactive view of year-to-date reve- nues and expenditures. Monthly financial reports posted to the website include a general fund check register a general fund budget report a detail general fund ledger a monthly cash flow analysis summary reports and graphs and budget reports on the hos- pitality taxes and storm water funds. Financial reports may be accessed by navigating to the finance section under City Administration or by clicking the Quick Links tab and scrolling to the financial reports link. Visitors may bookmark the page for easy future access. A wealth of financial information is available on the citys website including a monthly check register the General Fund Budget Report the General Fund Detail and a monthly cash flow analysis. Visit www.cityofgreer.org for more. 27 The City of Greer continues to post strong financial statements as revenue outpaced expenditures for the fifth consecutive fiscal year helping to raise the citys fund balance above the 8.5 million mark. The fund balance the citys savings account for non-budgeted expenses dipped below 3 million coming out of the recession and weakened the citys overall finan- cial situation. The graph below illustrates the revenue and expenditures of the General Fund since 2011. The graph at the bottom of the page shows fund balance growth since 2011 City of Greer Fund Balance 2011-2015 City of Greer Revenue vs. Expenses 2011-2015 Strong revenue and careful spending help replenish the citys fund balance 28 BUILDING DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS The Building and Development Standards Department exists to provide for the health safety and welfare of the general public through the equal enforcement of all appli- cable codes ordinances and sound engineering practices within the construction industry mobile home industry and engineering fields as needed. Located on the first floor of Greer City Hall the de- partment serves a variety of functions for the City of Greer including planning and zoning building inspections and code enforcement geographic information system GIS engineering and stormwater management. The city enjoyed another record-breaking year for per- mits on the residential side as residential construction valua- tions increased from 44 million in 2014 to 64.6 million in 2015. There were 236 total single family dwelling housing starts and 56 single family attached units. The total valua- tion for commercial and residential permits increased by 6.5 million with construction valuations reaching 123606215. Department head and city engineer Steve Grant P.E. joined the department in March after the late Don Holloman retired. Grant got up to speed quickly and oversaw all activ- ities of the engineering and stormwater divisions. The city engineer is tasked with coordinating city construction proj- ects reviewing residential and commercial site development plans inspecting street construction in new subdivisions addressing drainage problems and advising the stormwa- ter program staff in the development and application of the Stormwater Management Program. Grant continued the Roadway Assessment Program that annually grades city streets to determine those most in need of repair. This program has resulted in an improve- ment in the overall condition of streets within the city. Grant is considering a new computerized assessment method for 2016 and beyond that promises to improve efficiency in- crease accuracy and eliminate subjectivity in the program. In addition efforts are continually underway to update property development city maintained streets and other re- cords into a digital format that can be used in conjunction with the GIS program. All storm drainage systems in new developments are now being submitted electronically and added on a GIS layer so that the city has a digital record of new storm drainage systems. Grant serves on the state board of directors for the S.C. Society of Professional Engineers SCSPE and is also ac- tive in the American Society of Civil Engineers ASCE. During 2013 and 2014 the Planning and Zoning divi- sion reviewed and approved 1242 single family lots for de- velopment. Since 2013 595 actual lots have been construct- ed in 11 new communities. The department has issued 236 building permits for new construction of single family dwellings in 2015. These new housing starts are beginning to use up the inventory of 1242 lots growth that has increased the citys population to approximately 27746. Adding 60 apartmenttownhomes raises the population estimate to 27869. Developers continue to construct their communities in Commercial and residential construction plans continued at a strong pace in the city in 2015. Among the commercial plans was Gibbs Cancer Center at the Pelham Medical Center campus which received approval for a seven-story addition. 29 phases and have approximately 647 lots remaining on which to build new homes. In 2015 the Planning and Zoning divi- sion increased the undeveloped inventory by approving an- other 281 single family lot plats and an additional 31 town- homes. Approval was granted for the continued construction of manufacturing warehousing and distribution centers along with a seven-story addition to the Gibbs Cancer Cen- ter located at Spartanburg Regional Health Cares Pelham Medical Center. The Board of Architectural Review reviewed improve- ments to several historic buildings in Greer Station as new businesses locate in the historic downtown area. Five apart- ments and studios constructed on the upper levels of historic buildings were reviewed and approved. The City of Greer grew by 109 acres in 2014 due to property owners who requested annexation into the city. Planning and zoning coordinator Glenn Pace and GIS planner Justin Kirtz brought together elected and appointed officials in June to help them better understanding the roles each plays to advance the city. Stormwater engineer Lillian Hanley and stormwater inspector Anthony Copeland worked with other city depart- ments and government agencies to protect the citys water- ways from stormwater pollutants that may be generated by construction sites illicit discharges or other means as re- quired by state and federal law. Copeland joined the staff in 2015 and brings more than 10 years of construction inspec- tion experience in addition to many pertinent certifications. Staff members also respond to citizen concerns about drainage issues. More than 50 drainage issue calls were received and investigated in 2015. Staff began utilizing a web-based reporting system to have a record of all issues and locations. Because all runoff cannot be captured and treated like sewage at various treatment plants the best way to ensure cleaner water is to prevent runoff from ever becoming pol- luted. The city relies on strong stormwater ordinances and a diligent staff to accomplish this goal. By educating the public managing construction sites and inspecting industri- al facilities the citys stormwater team is working to protect the quality of the citys water for generations to come. Hanley reviewed 119 total stormwater plans conduct- ed 19 as-built reviews and held 36 pre-construction meetings during the year. Copeland performed 245 monthly site inspections 112 final site inspections and reviewed 151 residential lot drain- age plans. He also performed 15 asphaltproof roll inspec- tions for new roads in developing subdivisions. The city partners with Upstate organizations to pro- vide information regarding water quality and how all can participate in keeping streams and rivers clean. The citys stormwater division co-sponsored the 2015 meeting of the Southeast Chapter of the International Erosion Control As- sociation. In addition to utilizing the city website and PEG channel to offer public education Hanley was active in the community in 2015 at such events as the Friends of Lake Robinson Day of Celebration. Major accomplishments for the Stormwater division in 2015 were Met with stakeholders to develop a phased plan for im- provements at the City of Greer Recycling Center. The proj- ect goal is to improve infrastructure and reduce pollution in stormwater runoff by installing a stormwater management collection system water quality treatment devices and new concrete paving. The project budget is 300000. Began implementation of the Stormwater Quality Moni- toring Plan in July as required by the citys Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System SMS4 permit. The plan in- cludes quarterly stream sampling during rain events and dry weather events at two locations. Samples are tested for E. coli and fecal coliform. Began a program to electronically scan project files. Bene- fits include inspector electronic access in the field and reduc- tion of physical storage space. Building official Ruthie Helms was re-elected presi- dent of the Upper State Code Enforcement Association and serves on various committees for the Building Officials As- sociation of South Carolina. On behalf of the City of Greer Helms was recognized by ABLE South Carolina for excep- tional work to improve access for individuals with disabil- ities in Greer. She was also awarded the Member of the Year award and was the recipient of the M. F. Red Allen Educational Award by the Upper State Code Enforcement Association of South Carolina. Codes enforcement ofcer Tor Ellstrom brought eight years of experience to the staff and has worked closely with neighborhood leaders and other city departments to address community concerns such as overgrown lots trash debris and derelict vehicles. Greer native Joe Aughtry who is certified in various trades in construction joined the staff as a building inspec- tor. City of Greer Housing Starts 30 FIRE DEPARTMENT While many may think of a fire- fighter as the hero who charges into a burning building to rescue helpless citizens the role of a firefighter has evolved dramatically in recent years. They are still very much heroes to anyone helped from a burning struc- ture but todays firefighters are stu- dents teachers medical technicians hazardous material inspectors and community leaders. Fire calls represented 4 percent of the Greer Fire Departments total calls in 2015. Despite a considerable decline from the previous year rescue and emergency medical service calls con- tinued to comprise the largest percent- age of calls. Overall requests for service dropped by more than 800 calls in 2015. When they arent on calls mem- bers of the department are still making a difference in the community. During the year the department made 65 fire prevention presentations to 4874 people. It also started CPR Saturday a once-monthly opportunity for mem- bers of the public to attend an Amer- ican Heart Association Heart Saver CPR at no cost. Begun in August the five classes in 2015 were attended by 55 people. The department also offered Healthcare Provider CPR classes at area medical offices and nursing homes with approximately 100 professionals attending. The city department continued to be a headquarters for child safety seat inspections checking 242 seats. The number represented a slight decline from 2015 because Safe Kids Upstate which coordinates the inspections add- ed inspection station locations across the Upstate. Greenville County hosts an an- nual luncheon to recognize emergency personnel who save lives. Lt. Dwayne Brown engineer Warren Douglas and firefighter Thomas Kickler were among the firefighters and EMTs honored in 2015 for performing life saving first aid to cardiac arrest victims. Training is a key part of the de- partments preparedness. Paid staff completed 8573 training hours in 2015 while volunteers completed 671 training hours. ISO training area included officer classes company level training driver operator training building familiariza- tion and training on radioactivity haz- ardous materials. Chief Chris Harvey Deputy Chief Josh Holzheimer and engineers Scott Tompkins Kevin Holtzclaw Vernon Jameson and John Holland attended the week-long 2015 Fire Department Instructor Conference in Indianapolis. The conference brought together more 31 GFD came to the rescue of 12 baby ducklings stuck in a drainpipe at Greer City Park in May. The ducks were living in the park pond and had gotten separated from their mother. Firefighters were able to get the ducklings out by coaxing them down to one end of the drain and using a net to scoop them out. Chief Dorian Flowers assumed command of the City of Greers Fire De- partment on May 1 bringing more than 23 years of experi- ence in the fire service including the past four years as the Hendersonville N.C. Fire Chief. He previously worked as a captain with New Hanover County Fire Res- cue in Wilmington N.C. During his 13 years with New Hanover County Fire Rescue he held various responsibili- ties including operations training and administration duties. Chief Flowers also assisted in the development and management of the technical rescue services for New Hanover County Fire Rescue. Chief Flowers holds a masters degree in public administration from Anna Maria College a bachelor of sci- ence in business administration from Mount Olive College and an associate of applied science in fire science tech- nology from Pikes Peak Community College. He completed his fourth and fi- nal year of the National Fire Acade- mys Executive Fire Officer Program EFOP which provides senior fire officers with a broad perspective on various facets of fire and emergency services administration. The four grad- uate and upper-division-baccalaureate equivalent courses and accompanying research examine how to exercise lead- ership when dealing with difficult or unique problems within communities. Chief Flowers has additional ex- tensive fire education and training through the National Fire Academy holds several fire service certifications and has taught fire and technical rescue programs at several community col- leges across North Carolina. He replaced Chris Harvey who re- tired after 38 years of service. than 45000 firefighters from around the world for training. Capt. Barry Davis and Capt. Bob- by James attended Chief Alan Brunaci- nis Leadership Retreat in May learn- ing more about fire service leadership and culture personnel action and griev- ance management public relations fire service EMS public finance and bud- geting and situational awareness and fire ground decision-making. Department members participate in the Greer Chamber of Commerces Leadership Greer course to better un- derstand the community and the roles they can play in improving it. Lt. Carl Howell completed the course in 2015 while Chief Dorian Flowers and Dep- uty Chief Holzheimer enrolled in the new class. Department members were able to put their training to use when 15 per- sonnel were deployed to Columbia fol- lowing heavy flooding in October. City personnel assisted through the Green- ville County Emergency Response Team the South Carolina Urban Search and Rescue Team and covered Colum- bia Station 17 for a week. Kevin Meadows honored the memories of 911 emergency respond- ers by participating in the 911 Silent Walk across the Cooper River Bridge in Charleston. New Chief takes the helm at GFD 32 MUNICIPAL COURT As the judicial arm of the City of Greer the Greer Municipal Court is responsible for the administration of justice. An efficient and courteous staff serves the public with integrity professionalism and respect. The court staff consistently earns high marks in customer satis- faction in a facility that is one of the busiest in the city. Greer Municipal Court is in session every Wednesday at the citys Police and Court Complex to hear traffic and misdemeanor crim- inal cases carrying a maximum fine and sentence of 500 plus court costs or 30 days in jail plus certain other cases as authorized by the leg- islature. 2015 Municipal Court Activity Expungements....................... 410 Cases Files............................. 9305 Cases processed.................... 9434 Bench Warrants issued......... 583 Bench Warrants served........ 574 Arrest Warrants issued........ 1151 Arraignments Conducted...... 1207 defendants with 2110 charges Revenue.........................................................................325014.69 Total money receipted..................................................951980.75 In addition to arraignments held twice daily every day of the week the facility is also the site of General Sessions preliminary hear- ings for Greenville County charges jury trials and pretrial conferences. Greenville County Magistrate Judge Robert F. Simms uses the courtroom or hearing room an average of five days per month. In addition to use by other re- gional agencies the Department of Motor Vehicles uses the hearing room weekly to conduct regional administrative hearings for those who have lost their licenses to DUI charges. Due to an increasing need for a ministerial recorder on site in the early morning hours Municipal Court adjusted its weeknight staff and now has a ministerial recorder working from 11 p.m. until 7 a.m. The City of Greers two full- time and three part-time ministerial recorders must complete 14 manda- tory hours of annual training with three hours of ethics training. Ministerial judges also com- pleted annual criminal domestic vi- olence training online safety train- ing and quarterly in-house training that Pressley conducts on Saturdays. Court clerks must also remain aware of critical changes in state law case laws and bond procedures. Although training for clerks is not mandated by the state Court 33 Municipal Court captures City Achievement Award City of Greer departments strive to create new programs and projects to streamline city services and to improve the quality of life for residents. As an incentive the city established the City of Greer Achievement Award in 2015. Based on criteria for the Municipal Association of South Carolinas Achievement Awards the honor is designed to recognize inno- vative projects based on partnerships efficient use of resources quantifiable results and adaptability to other cities. Establishing the Domestic Vio- lence Court see Page 8 with the as- sistance of the Police Department and in partnership with the S.C. Attorney Generals office domestic violence support agencies in the Upstate and the City of Simpsonville earned the Munic- ipal Court staff the citys Achievement Award. Many people worked to ensure that this project would become a reality Greer Court Administrator Kirsten Pressley said. Domestic violence was singled out by Gov. Nikki Haley in January as one of the largest problems facing our state today. The hope is that this court will serve as a model for other courts to replicate. After five months of court sessions the program produced a 78 conviction rate more than double the previous annual rate. Winning the city award advanced the domestic violence court project to the state award competition. Many people worked to ensure that this project would become a reality. Kirsten Pressley and Meghan Weibel presented the Domestic Violence Court project in the MASC Achievement Award comeptition in late February. Administrator Kirsten Pressley re- quires her employees to attend quar- terly training sessions she conducts. Because they are considered to be victim service providers by law the clerks attend annual training in that area in addition to training opportunities from the Municipal Association of South Carolina. They also monitor files programs and al- ternative sentences and foster part- nerships with service providers. Greer Municipal Court staff are active in the Municipal Court Ad- ministration Association of South Carolina MCAA which focuses on fostering and developing inter- est in sound court administration encouraging the most advanced technologies in the field of court administration disseminating in- formation and exchanging ideas among its members. When South Carolina law- makers got tougher on domestic violence crimes by passing the Do- mestic Violence Reform Act in June both ministerial judges and clerks were required to quickly become fa- miliar with the law. Abusers now go to jail based on both the number of times they are charged with domestic violence and the severity of the crime and gun rights are stripped from abusers but lower-level offenders can get them restored. Severe crimes carry a life- time gun ban. Judges may issue permanent orders of protection and set bond based on danger to individual as well as community. In cooperation with the Greer Police Department the court has established a successful alternative sentencing program through com- munity service. The program en- joyed a 93 success rate complet- ing 1357 hours and collecting 3192 gallons of litter in 2015. 34 PARKS RECREATION Athletics Division Participation 2011-2015 The City of Greer Parks and Recre- ation Department is committed to ful- filling its mission of providing quality recreational experiences while admin- istering the values of community im- age human development preservation of environmental resources health and wellness economic development and cultural unity. The department relies on five divi- sions to accomplish this mission ath- letics recreation events cultural arts and grounds maintenance. Working to- gether members of every division help provide events and activities for all ages in safe and comfortable settings. Tournaments through the athletics division continue to have a positive impact and generated 69800 of direct impact to the local economy in 2015 an increase of nearly 10000 from 2014. The Parks and Recreation Depart- ment enjoyed a record participation in athletics programs in 2015 drawing more than 250 participants compared to 2014. A highlight of the year was the Ath- letics Division offering camps free of charge for youth football soccer girls softball and basketball. Participation by sport Youth Baseball............................. 601 Youth Soccer................................ 645 Youth Football.............................. 130 Youth Cheerleading...................... 56 Youth Wrestling........................... 33 Adult Softball............................... 260 Tournament.................................. 708 Recreation baseball and softball all-star teams won three district tour- naments academy baseball teams were ranked in the national top 25 during the season and academy soccer teams won the CESA and Rock Hill Classic tour- naments. Tennis instructor Patrick Wood continued to grow that program adding 20 memberships and producing reve- nue of nearly 5000 through lessons camps clinics and league play. The Recreation Division staffs and oversees general programming includ- ing afterschool and summer camps special events facility rentals senior citizen events Greenville County Redevelopment Authority grant pro- grams and CPR First Aid and AED training for the department. In 2015 42 programs in the Rec- reation Division drew more than 5800 participants. New programs included Tumbling classes Mothers in Common and Pickleball. The division puts on such events as the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Luncheon at City Hall and the popular Egg-Tastic Easter Event at Century Park and Kids Planet. The City of Greer again participat- ed in the Greenville County Park Hop to foster an awareness and appreciation for the wealth of parks in the county increase youth physical activity and establish an annual tradition for all to enjoy. The Events Division which is based at Greer City Hall is the office to visit to book event halls at Greer City Hall the Cannon Centre the gazebo outdoor amphitheater and picnic shel- ter. Facilities at Greer City Hall and Greer City Park are popular sites for weddings birthday parties and com- 35 munity meetings. In 2015 the division reported a 9 increase in reservations at City Park property and an 8 in- crease in the number of reservations at the Cannon Centre. With the support of additional Parks and Recreation divisions oth- er City of Greer departments and lo- cal organizations the Events Division hosted and assisted in the planning of approximately 20 public events includ- ing Freedom Blast Christmas at Greer City Park Moonlight Movies and the Greer Goes Global International Festi- val. The Cultural Arts Division enjoyed a busy year as the Greer Childrens Theatre staged Disneys Aladdin Jr. Disneys Peter Pan Jr. and Mary Pop- pins. The division also sponsored a con- cert with renowned pianist Flavio Va- rani as well as multiple concerts by the Foothills Philharmonic Orchestra. Cultural Arts also books the Tunes in the Park concert series that includes Greer Idol. The popular Friday night offering was held on six summer eve- nings and saw Roni Teems Greer Idol Teen and Felicia Owens Greer Idol crowned at the finale for which the vote total set a record. Three art shows were featured this year the Juried Art Show that included the themes Greer An Upstate Desti- nation and Greer Goes Global the Freedom Blast Mural Competition and the Giving Thanks Student Art Show. Exhibits by Upstate artists were installed every two months in the Wall Gallery at Greer City Hall. Greer Cultural Arts received 25500 in grants to support its 2015 programming. The Grounds Maintenance Di- vision cares for approximately 150 acres of facilities every day of the year from preparing athletic fields and maintaining Greer City Park to chang- ing banners and annual flowers. A major project in May was replac- ing the crumb rubber fall safety mate- rial at the Greer City Park playground with a pour-in-place fall safety mate- rial. The new surface meets all ASTM International standards and is ADA compliant. The division was awarded a grant through Partnership for Tomorrow in the amount of 1500 for landscaping improvements to planters downtown. Improving Greer City Stadium was another large project. All concrete walls and seating areas were painted repairs were made to an interior catch basin and retaining wall a new display board was installed and a subterranean drainage system was installed to reme- dy the continuous soggy field condition in the south end zone. Among the divisions responsibili- ties Maintaining public parks including buildings fencing electrical plumbing irrigation trees etc. and parking lots. Cleaning park restroom facilities. Providing safe playing surfaces for athletic league participants. Set up and breakdown for activities in City Park and the Events Halls. Pond and fountain maintenance at City Park. Handling event setup and multiple stage rentals for private functions. Installing and removing seasonal banners downtown and at City Park. Installing and removing light pole Christmas decorations. Set moves for Greer Cultural Arts. Equipment maintenance. The Greer Childrens Theatre staged a full complement of shows during 2015 including Disneys Aladdin Jr. left. The theatre company performs plays to full houses at the J. Harley Bonds Ca- reer Center auditorium and at the Cannon Centre. David McLaurin photo 36 POLICE DEPARTMENT Chicago teen Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times when he waved a knife at city police officers. Riots in Baltimore Md. erupted when Freddie Gray died after being subdued and taken into custody. Cries for justice followed a video showed Officer Michael Slager shooting a fleeing Walter Scott in North Charleston S.C. A Texas police officer resigned after cell phone vid- eo showed him violently restraining a girl and drawing his weapon on unarmed teens at a pool party. Media reports in 2015 have kept police and their be- havior very much in the public eye prompting everything from calls for internal investigations of police departments to body cameras for every police officer on the street. Greer Police Chief Dan Reynolds knows that such acts across the nation cast a dark shadow on every police depart- ment large and small as residents demand to know that proper protocol will be followed in the quest for justice. In fact Reynolds department has been especially pro- active about such matters and continued in 2015 to assure City of Greer residents that police are here to serve and pro- tect them. Its difficult to escape the criticism of poor decisions by police across the country and the negative publicity but you cant paint every department with the same brush Chief Dan Reynolds said. We believe in a strong system of training and ethics for every officer and subscribe to com- munity policing. The Greer department was testing body-worn camer- as and comparing models a full year before Michael Brown was shot to death by a police officer in Ferguson Mo. an incident that prompted Browns family to call for the nation- wide use of body cameras by police and the creation of the Presidents Task Force on 21st Century Policing. All Greer patrol officers were equipped with body cam- eras by January of 2015. GPDs policy for the use of body cameras was approved by the South Carolina Justice Academy making the depart- ment eligible to apply for reimbursement from the state in 2016. In an effort to monitor the performance of its officers the department implemented the Guardian Tracking System in August. The computerized system allows the department to maintain accurate documentation of employee produc- tivity track compliments and complaints and summarize performances to assist with evaluations and identify training needs. During its first five months of use the system tracked 332 entries producing three early intervention notices and one recognition notice. The system allows us to track officers behavior both positive and negative. This system also gives us clues about possible weaknesses in our training program and gives us an opportunity to shore up those weaknesses with new updated Det. Jonathan McWhite the Greer Police Departments 2015 Officer of the Year started a mentoring program that matches local young people with officers who volunteer for the program. 37 training Reynolds said. Both the body-worn camera pro- gram and the Guardian Tracking System will improve our transparency and accountability. Maintaining a positive presence and relationship with citizens is a key part of community policing and the depart- ment implemented several new programs in 2015 and im- proved existing programs to attain that goal. A Summer Youth Leadership Program see Page 11 allowed middle school students to spend two weeks with officers learning more about criminal justice. The Citizens Police Academy continued to grow producing two gradu- ating classes in 2015. The Greer Police Academy Alumni Association was very active as members volunteered 1743 hours assisting the department with tasks at events. Detective Jonathan McWhite began a mentoring pro- gram matching GPD police officers with area youths. The program currently includes 14 boys and girls paired with of- ficers who have volunteered to participate. Re-establishing the K-9 Division see Page 14 has reduced drug cases in the city and conducting programs at more than 20 local daycare centers and schools helped edu- cate young people through bonding with the two dogs. Neighborhood Watch programs grew to include 20 ac- tive neighborhoods in the city. Members of the department hold meetings throughout the year to emphasize how neigh- bors can watch out for each other and deter crime. The de- partment also participates in National Night Out events to introduce themselves to residents across the city. Meeting residents is the goal of Coffee with a Cop see Page 4 a program that began in 2015 at local restaurants and coffee shops allowing business owners and families to hold informal one-on-one discussions with the police teams that patrol their areas. Plans are underway to continue the Coffee with a Cop in 2016. The department encourages residents to use ReportIt reportit.leadsonline.com a free online property inventory that allows users to securely store serial numbers item de- scriptions pictures and scans of receipts so that items may be more easily identified in the event of theft or loss. Following the June shooting that killed nine people at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston Greer police met with officials from several churches to review their security plans. Operation Medicine Cabinet continues to keep unwant- ed and unneeded prescription drugs off the street and out of the water system. Residents may drop off prescription drugs at Operation Medicine Cabinet events or at the drop box lo- cated in the Police Department lobby. A total of 810 pounds was collected and destroyed in 2015. Alive at 25 the driver education program for young people now has four instructors at GPD. The department held 14 sessions of the national program in 2015 as 422 stu- dents completed the class. As 2015 drew to a close GPD was planning a major community bonding and quality of life initiative in the Sun- nyside Community to include individual surveys communi- ty clean up days and other events to better connect the police and residents. The department fully implemented the ReportBeam au- tomated collision software system. Officers are now gener- ating all collision reports on the system cutting each report time by as much as 45 minutes. The automated reports are sent directly to a server in Columbia and once approved on- line by the departments records clerk are distributed elec- tronically to proper agencies. Patrol officers are now able to generate e-tickets for traffic violations reducing the need for manual data entry and allowing for simple scanning of drivers licenses and reg- istrations. Safety was also a priority for the Directed Patrol Unit Traffic Unit. In addition to monitoring and mapping road- way collisions in the city the unit purchased traffic solution signs with messages that are programmable from an officers smart phone or laptop computer. Statistical data recorded by the signs can be analyzed to determine any safety concerns. The Criminal Investigation Division acquired and be- gan using software that conducts forensic searches of cell phones used in criminal cases. The software will expedite investigations by reducing our reliance on Greenville Coun- ty to provide the service. GPD now has a lab for in-house maijuana testing rather than relying on another agency to provide results. The departments training efforts have become popu- lar with both state and regional agencies. It held 94 training classes in 2015 drawing 1783 students. The estimated eco- nomic impact to the Greer economy was 15652. 2015 Greer Police Award Winners SUPERVISOR Mixon Eldridge OFFICER Jonathan McWhite ROOKIE Anna Barnett CIVILIAN Shauna Bagwell 38 PUBLIC SERVICES DEPARTMENT From painting parking lots and cross walks to clearing city streets following festivals the Public Services Depart- ment is tasked with performing services that many residents wont notice unless they dont happen. Department mem- bers however take pride in keeping the city looking and operating at its peak potential. Ensuring the publics safety is a departmental goal. It replaced more than 300 feet of sidewalks and added handi- cap ramps in 2015. Street signs are damaged more often than residents may realize and replacing those signs quickly is the key to making sure traffic moves as intended. Department members replaced 93 street name signs 22 stop signs and 34 damaged sign posts. Mowing and cleaning out road right-of-ways on a weekly basis reduces the risk of accidents and helps con- trol water runoff. Heavy rainfall generates calls about water problems mostly ditches drains and outfalls blocked by de- bris. Crews are called on to repair storm drains to jet drain lines and to check them with cameras for broken joints. The department maintains the grounds at Mountain View and Edgewood Cemeteries cutting grass and cutting back overhanging limbs. It would be difficult to hold an outdoor festival in the city without the department as staff members hang and re- move banners barricade streets install and remove drop cords and set up and empty trash cans. They are the first on site to set up for an event and the last to leave making sure the streets are spotless. One of the departments more popular services is its 12-week curbside leaf collection that operates on a sched- ule allowing trucks to visit each residence three times during the collection season. A brochure with a map and collection dates is mailed to all city residents in October. Public Services also facilitates solid waste removal through ACE Environmental the citys contractor for curb- side trash and recyclables collection and delivers green carts recycling bins and yard waste carts to residences. Workers saw a 274-ton decrease in solid waste collec- tion and a 26-ton increase in curbside recycling in 2015. That was a positive trend as residents send more materials to the recycler than to landfills. That trend was also reflected in collection numbers at the City Recycling Center on Buncombe St. The center ex- perienced more than twice the tonnage of plastics compared to 2014 and nearly twice the tonnage of paper. It also collect- ed more cardboard and tires than the previous year. More than 22 tons of e-waste electronics that are no longer permitted in county landfills was collected at the center in 2015. Amnesty Day held the last Saturday in April permits residents to drop off materials not collected curbside. The day drew 247 residents with aerosols pesticides batteries furniture lawnmowers and other items. Paint again was the leading material dropped off as workers collected three 55-gallon barrels. Crews were called in to work two winter storms in 2015 sanding and plowing 1740 miles of roadway and us- ing approximately 46 tons of sand on streets and bridges. The maintenance shop at the City Operations Center services and repairs vehicles to extend the life of the city fleet. City Recycling Center Collection 2013-2015 2013 2014 2015 The departments equipment was a hit with children at Touch a Truck Night in Greer Station. 39 GREER DEVELOPMENT Economic development plays a critical role in the City of Greer. To attract new capital investments create jobs and revitalize the community the City of Greer partners with the Greer Commission of Public Works the Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce the Partnership for Tomorrow and private sector businesses to support the Greer Development Corporation GDC. The mission of this publicprivate partnership is to pro- mote and to enhance economic growth and development in Greer by increasing the wealth creating opportunities in the community while preserving the high quality of life of one of South Carolinas fastest growing communities. GDCs strategic efforts focus on recruitment and reten- tion of commercial and industrial businesses targeted mar- keting of the community and development of properties for future economic opportunities. GDC provides prospective businesses and industries with data on available real estate information on taxes incentives financing and business assistance programs statistical data on Greers marketplace and workforce in- troductions to community resources and site selection and community tours. Major projects and historic firsts marked 2015 in the City of Greer. Vacancy in Greers historic downtown Greer Station decreased to 15 with announcements by The Galleries of Brian Brigham The Chocolate Toad Abbotts Frozen Custard and Blue Ridge Brewing Company among others. Velocity Park expanded its footprint and offerings by beginning construction on a new 240000 square foot speculative industrial building and annexing more than 60 acres into the City of Greer for industrial park expansion. Greer welcomed Israel-based ARAN packaging to the city with the acquisition of a new building on Poplar Drive Extension. Mitsubishi Polyester Film announced a 100 million expansion of their Greer facility. Greer eclipsed 1 billion in total gross retail sales. In all GDC facilitated 25 successful projects in 2015 representing total capital investments of more than 158 million and the creation of more than 300 new jobs. Abbotts Frozen Custards newest location helped reduced the vacancy in Greer Station to just 15 percent. GREENVILLE COUNTY REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY 40 The Greenville County Redevelopment Authority GCRA provides the opportunity for residents of Greenville County to achieve the American Dream through affordable housing opportunities and community revitalization. Established in 1974 GCRA works to improve the living conditions of the countys low and moderate income resi- dents by building new homes rehabilitating existing homes and improving the infrastructures within communities as well as providing credit and homeownership education. By developing community partnerships and administer- ing funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD GCRA works to build a better quality of life for everyone. First-time homeowners have the opportunity to pur- chase one of GCRAs new homes while current homeown- ers can repair or improve their homes through GCRAs Re- habilitation Program. Strong partnerships make it possible for GCRA to con- duct beautification and public works projects such as im- proving streets sidewalks lighting drainage sewers parks and installing handicap ramps to maintain a safe and beauti- ful environment for all residents to enjoy. GCRA experienced change in 2015 as longtime exec- utive director Martin Livingston resigned and Stan Wilson filled that post on Nov. 1. However the organizations work in the City of Greer continued without interruption. GCRA completed demolition of three properties in the city in 2015 and another three were in progress. It also com- pleted four emergency rehabs of owner-occupied properties. Work continued in the Needmore Community where one housing unit was under construction on McKissick Ave. and infrastructure improvement on Spring St. entered the en- gineering design phase. GCRA has worked with The Upstate Homeless Coa- lition to implement a 4 million 36-unit Housing and Ur- ban Development senior housing complex as part of the Fiscal Year 2015 CDBG and HOME funding for the City of Greer CDBG 413617 HOME 263905 Total 677522 Infrastructure Improvement Public Works............248617 Property Acquisition................................................ 50000 Public Services Special Projects.......................... 40000 Emergency Rehabilitation...................................... 30000 Planning Activities in Needmore............................. 25000 Demolition of Blighted Property.............................. 20000 Fiscal Year 2015 Sub-Recipient Funding Creekside Community project. GCRA has completed two new single-family homes in the community and another is underway. GCRA offers a facade improvement grant program to encourage improvement and investment to retain and attract businesses strengthen the central business district increase utilization of downtown buildings restore economic vitality and enhance property values. One facade project on Trade St. was underway in 2015 while two additional applications were being considered. The Economic Development and Revolving Loan Fund is a program designed to encourage economic development activities and promote opportunities for employment in the communities that GCRA serves. The program provides five-year low-interest loans between 5000 and 25000 to small existing and emerging businesses located in Greers central business district. A portion of the citys annual CDBG allocation is made available through a competitive application process to sub- recipients for public service activities. Sub-recipient funding was 40000 for six local organizations in 2015. Greer Community Ministries ........................... 14000 Creative Advancement Centers ...................... 8000 Needmore Summer Camp ............................. 7000 Greer Relief and Resources Agency .............. 6000 Cannon Senior Center Program ..................... 3000 Brushy Creek First Assembly of God ............. 2000 This single-family home under construction on McKissick St. across from the Needmore Recreation Center is among the homes being offered for sale by GCRA. 41 Abandoned Vehicles...................................864 801-2040 Accounts Payable.......................................864 848-5388 Accounts Receivable..................................864 848-5399 Adult Sports Programs................................864 416-0105 Advertising .................................................864 416-0121 Alarm Permit ..............................................864 848-2150 Animal Control.............................................864 848-5363 Annexation..................................................864 848-5396 Arraignments...............................................864 848-5374 Athletics Programs......................................864 416-0105 Auctions city items....................................864 801-2027 Audit............................................................864 416-0090 Budget.........................................................864 416-0090 Building Inspections....................................864 848-2175 Building Permits..........................................864 848-2150 Business Licenses......................................864 848-2186 Cable TV Channel.......................................864 416-0121 Car Seat Inspections...................................864 416-6601 Cemetery city-owned................................864 416-0090 Childrens Theater.......................................864 848-5383 City Administrator........................................864 848-5387 City Council.................................................864 801-2027 City Hall Rental Space................................864 968-7005 City Park Rental Space...............................864 968-7005 Code Enforcement......................................864 848-5397 Comprehensive Plan...................................864 416-0118 CPW............................................................864 848-5500 Criminal Investigation..................................864 848-2188 Cultural Arts.................................................864 848-5383 Design Standards.......................................864 848-5396 Detention Center.........................................864 848-5358 Dog License................................................864 848-2150 Drainage Problems.....................................864 801-2026 Drug Activity................................................864 416-6615 Easements..................................................864 848-5397 Elections City............................................864 801-2027 Emergencies...............................................Dial 911 Employment................................................864 848-2174 Engineering Services..................................864 848-2181 Event Permits..............................................864 848-5387 Events Center.............................................864 968-7005 Facilities Parks..........................................864 848-2190 Finance.......................................................864 848-2185 Fire Department Tours................................864 416-6601 Fire Safety Education..................................864 416-6602 Fire Inspections...........................................864 848-2169 Gang Information........................................864 848-2188 Garbage Collection.....................................864 848-2182 GIS..............................................................864 879-4307 Graffiti..........................................................864 848-2182 Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce.........................864 877-3131 Greer Development Corp............................864 416-0125 Greer Heritage Museum.............................864 877-3377 Hazardous Materials...................................Dial 911 Human Resources......................................864 848-2174 Illegal Dumping...........................................864 801-2040 Immigration.................................................864 801-0510 Information Technology...............................864 416-0123 Jail Detention Center................................864 848-5358 Jean Smith Library......................................864 877-8722 Job Openings..............................................864 848-2174 Kids Planet..................................................864 848-2190 Library.........................................................864 877-8722 Litter............................................................864 801-2040 Maps............................................................864 879-4307 Mayor..........................................................864 848-5387 Municipal Court...........................................864 848-5374 Mapping......................................................864 879-4307 Missing Person...........................................864 848-2188 Neighborhood Safety..................................864 968-7002 News Media.............................................864 416-0121 Noise Nuisance.........................................864 801-2040 Ordinances City........................................864 801-2027 Overgrown Lots...........................................864 801-2040 Parks...........................................................864 848-2190 Planning......................................................864 848-5396 Police...........................................................864 416-6615 Police Reports.............................................864 848-2194 Public Services............................................864 848-2182 Recreation Programs..................................864 849-2192 Recycling curbside...................................864 848-2182 Recycling Center.........................................864 934-0268 Road Maintenance......................................864 416-6611 SAFE Kids...................................................864 416-6601 Seniors Activities.........................................864 968-7001 Sidewalks....................................................864 416-6611 Sign Standards...........................................864 848-5396 Special Events Permits...............................864 848-5387 Sports Programs.........................................864 416-0105 Streetlights..................................................864 848-5500 Street Repair...............................................864 416-6611 Storm Water Issues.....................................864 801-2026 Taxi Code Enforcement..............................864 877-7906 Television Channel......................................864 416-0121 Traffic Lights................................................864 848-2188 Trash collection.........................................864 848-2182 Trash litter.................................................864 801-2040 Tree Maintenance.......................................864 848-2182 Vacant House Disrepair..............................864 801-2040 Victim Advocacy..........................................864 416-0095 Voter Registration Greenville County..................................864 467-7250 Spartanburg County...............................864 596-2549 Wanted Persons..........................................864 848-2188 Website.......................................................864 416-0121 Yard Waste..................................................864 848-2182 Youth Activities............................................864 848-2192 Youth Sports................................................864 416-0105 Zoning.........................................................864 848-5396 CITY SERVICES DIRECTORY Delivering effective and efficient services to provide a quality of life that makes the City of Greer a great place to live work and play. Greer City Hall 301 East Poinsett Street Greer South Carolina 29651