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Underdog No More

Underdog. Isn’t that a funny word? By definition it’s the expected loser or somebody at a disadvantage. Runner up. Second best. Little guy. When I was growing up, my parents taught us to take up for the underdog. Don’t leave anyone out. Stand up for others. Pull for and encourage those that others think don’t stand a chance, in whatever arena that may be. Movies that drive home this point….Rudy, Hoosiers, Karate Kid and Remember the Titans (pardon the sports theme).   When the “little guy” wins, we all celebrate.

So what in the world could this possibly have to do with houses? During an interview earlier this year, I was asked several questions about Spartanburg and Hampton Heights. The more I talked, the more an ‘underdog theme’ developed and I realized that in a way, I feel protective over both because I have always viewed them as underdogs. In trying to paint an accurate description I found myself comparing them to others – Spartanburg to Greenville and Hampton Heights to another nearby historic neighborhood– and how we have always been overlooked. The underdogs. Before I go any further, let me be clear that this is not a knock on Greenville or the other neighborhood. They’re both great and thriving. It’s simply a ‘let us show you how great we are too’ point of view. Simply put, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I want to see both Spartanburg and Hampton Heights rise to their full potential and to show how both are on the cusp of something really great right now. I consider both to be diamonds in the rough, and they are both beginning to shine brightly. So, I’d like to share with you a little about how these once overlooked special places are…underdogs no more.

First, let’s talk about Spartanburg – Sparkle City – Hub City. In case you’ve been living under a rock, there are some big – let me repeat BIG – things happening in Downtown Spartanburg. There’s a banner that hangs over City Hall showing the amount of money that has been invested in downtown since 2013 and at last glance it was around $80 million. That’s kind of a lot of money. Some of the biggest projects underway right now are the AC Hotel by Marriott, the Montgomery Building, and the Aug W. Smith Building, just to name a few. In addition to all of the projects financed by private investors, the City of Spartanburg has also made major improvements to the Morgan Square area and most recently the Daniel Morgan Avenue and Magnolia Street streetscapes. Earlier this year, the Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce officially announced the formation of One Spartanburg, a comprehensive effort to raise levels of prosperity in Spartanburg County. There’s a vast network of leaders in the community who believe in and are invested in Spartanburg. They are working diligently to improve all aspects of Spartanburg and it’s already beginning to show. The time has finally come for Spartanburg to rise.

Typically on the weekends, my dogs’ morning walk takes us through downtown Spartanburg. I like to be in the know so this is my way of keeping up with what’s going on and to track the progress of all of the construction projects. In fact, about six months ago while walking the dogs I started taking pictures of several of these construction projects and the downtown area in general. (I know that’s a little weird so just be nice and pretend not to notice.) I believe that with any type of transformation it’s important to document the changes so that you can see how far you’ve come. While none of these construction projects are mine, they are in a sense, everyone’s. Everyone who is invested in Spartanburg has a stake, even if it’s only as a cheerleader. Here are just a few of those pictures or you can visit the City’s website. They have a dedicated webpage to track all of the construction projects and do a great job marketing the progress and keeping everyone informed. And if you haven’t been to Downtown Spartanburg in a while, let me be the first to invite you to visit.