Inspired by a local makeshift skate park, the Greenville County Redevelopment Authority (GCRA) in 2009 entered a Voluntary Clean-up Contract (VCC) with SC DHEC prior to purchasing the former Poe Mill site for the purposes of redeveloping the site as a recreational park. The facility, located at the intersection of A Street and Buncombe Road in Greenville County, SC, operated as a textile mill from 1896 to 1977. The property occupies 11.02 acres and currently contains no standing buildings, although two iconic smoke stacks and some partial structures remain after a fire destroyed the site in 2003. A Phase I and II Environmental Assessment conducted in coordination with SC DHEC revealed that contaminants such as metals and polynuclear aromatic compounds are present in surface soil above levels acceptable for unrestricted use. Prior to reuse as a recreational park, GCRA is required to remove and dispose of building debris according to applicable environmental regulations, further assess uncovered areas once debris is removed, and address all contaminated soil.
GCRA is partnering with Clemson University's Landscape Architecture Program and its a.LINE.ments Studio to work with neighborhood residents and other project stakeholders to develop a conceptual design for the proposed park including improvements to neighborhood gateways such as Shaw Street, Buncombe Road, Conyers Street, Hammett Street and Hammett Street Extension. On September 20, 2010, GCRA and Clemson University hosted a public meeting to gather the ideas and vision of residents regarding the proposed park and gateways. At the public meeting, Clemson students displayed results of their analysis of the old mill site, the results of a survey administered by the students in the Poe Mill neighborhood were presented, and residents and interested parties communicated their ideas for the park. The survey questions were designed to assess resident recreation needs and desires, quality of life issues, and to update outdated census information for the community. The results of the neighborhood survey, ideas gathered from the public meeting, and site analysis information will be utilized by Clemson students to develop a variety different conceptual designs that project stakeholders will be able to choose from. The selected conceptual plan will be used in applications submitted for federal and state clean-up funds towards the redevelopment of the site.