Landscape architecture students in the 2010 Community Design Studio led by Professor Mary Beth McCubbin partner with the Poe Mill community to reinvigorate their neighborhood. Like many communities, the Poe Mill village is struggling in the aftermath of loosing its economic engine. What had once been 11 acres of energy at the heart of the neighborhood is now piles of rubble covered with weeds and garbage—a blight that makes it difficult to maintain pride in one’s community but also creates issues related to safety and security. However, the village has many of the components that make for great places to live. It has a network of streets and sidewalks that promote walking and neighborly interaction. It is close to downtown Greenville, has access to public transportation, has charming houses, and is only a short hop to the Swamp Rabbit Trail.
However, the community deals with issues: a lack of access to open space, abandoned and deteriorating structures, crime, and lack of easy access to daily services like grocery stores. Students in the Community Design Studio were challenged to explore these issues and look for opportunities to revitalize this once proud neighborhood. Working with the Greenville Redevelopment Authority and the Poe Mill Neighborhood Association, students conducted a door-to-door survey, held a series of pubic meetings and work sessions to identify a vision for a park that would become the new heartbeat of the community. Each student proposed a design that embodied the community’s priorities—places for active play or a quiet walk in the woods, places for family picnics or community festivals, places to celebrate the rich history of the textile industry. With feedback from the community, graduate students in the a.LINE.ments Studio created a design proposal that will be used as inspiration for the new park. Check out the final report for Poe Mill below!