by Doug Lockard 04Sept21
In an effort to realize the goals of Greenville County’s recently updated Comprehensive Plan, the County Council voted unanimously in December 2020 to establish this new trust fund. This Trust is intended to help permanently protect Greenville’s natural and historic assets for residents, visitors, and future generations.
The Trust will be overseen by a Council-appointed board and has named Doug Harper a chair. Harper said “This Trust will bring critical additional resources to Greenville County from State and Federal Programs, individuals and non-profit organizations. Having a local public funding source is an important criterion when seeking outside grants and funding. This is an investment in our future that will pay big dividends. Besides protecting and enhancing our quality of life, it will help us recruit businesses and good jobs that seek areas with a strong conservation ethic and access to nature. The Council was wise to adopt this ordinance.”
In April 2021, a motion for $10 million seed money for the initial 2-year funding was put to the Board. Carlton Owen, the Trust’s vice chairman, said of the request “In this first two years, let’s show what we can do.” Unfortunately, when the budget was approved in June 2021, no funding was provided for the new Trust. Without funding, the Trust Board will be unable to fulfill the very mission it was created for – to conserve those natural areas most important to wildlife and people.
Then in July, the County Council approved $2 million seed money for the first 2 years. Disappointing, but at least it’s a start. As the pace of growth continues unabated, we’ll lose forever incremental opportunities to implement the kind of conservation programs that will ensure Greenville remains the great community it is today.
We wish all the best to Harper, Owen and the team!