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  • Paul Shewmaker

Simply Groundbreaking

February 23, 2023 was a historic day for our community, the day we broke ground on our new municipal complex. This was a momentous occasion as it represents a significant step forward for our city. It’s a symbol of our progress and the vitality that we find here.

I want to be clear about something. This is not a beginning, and when this project is finished it won’t be an end. It is just another step on our journey.

We have been successful because we have put one building block at a time on top of the last and ready for the next. This is how Simpsonville has come a long way since its founding. Frankly, we have come a long way in just the last ten years.

We continue to grow and expand, and that’s why we need a new fire department headquarters, a new court building, a new police department headquarters, and a new City Hall. These new buildings will serve our needs for decades, maybe even centuries to come.

They will not only provide essential services and resources for our community, but will also become a center of civic pride for all of us. With the simultaneous renovation of Simpsonville Park, this place will be the crown jewel of Simpsonville.

This project is the culmination of years of hard work, collaboration, and planning. And collaboration is an important word here. The combined municipal and summary court building is the result of a collaboration between Greenville County and our city. This is unique. And working together with County leadership has been a pleasure. I especially want to thank County Councilmember Butch Kirven. He has always been an advocate and a champion for Simpsonville.

Our city leaders have worked tirelessly to make this vision a reality. I have worked together with our councilmembers and want to thank them for their efforts: Matthew Gooch, Aaron Rupe, Jennifer Hulehan, Sherry Roche, Ken Cummings and Lou Hutchings. I also want to thank former councilmember Stephanie Kelley, she was part of this too and voted with us to move forward.

I especially want to thank City Administrator Dianna Gracely. She is the motor in this airplane called Simpsonville, and we wouldn’t be flying as high without her.

And thank you to the design and build teams. DP3 Architects, especially Rhonda White and Mike Pry; Mike Carlisto with Edifice Construction; and with Bolton and Menk, Katherine Amidon and Kevin Ammons. I have surely missed others who need a thank as well. You too are appreciated. All of you, all of these people, are owed a debt of gratitude for their dedication and commitment to our community.

These new buildings will be state-of-the-art. These designs have been carefully crafted to ensure they are functional and perfectly suited to their purpose. But we also put shovels in the ground to start buildings that will be aesthetically wonderful and reflective of our city's unique character and charm.

We are going to have a park with a beautiful Great Lawn and amenities for all to enjoy.

We are going to have a literal showcase fire department with windows looking in on the trucks as you come in to the entrance of the park. This will be a delight to children of all ages.

And I look forward to hearing the gavel fall for the first time in Council Chambers, the space we are already calling… The Ellipse.

These buildings will be the ones future generations will preserve. This is why I said centuries. These buildings will be the ones that cause our descendants to look back a hundred years from now and wonder what it was like in the times that created this. I believe they will be considered iconic.

So, we have begun writing a new chapter in our city's history. We are creating a place that will well serve the mission of our government, and a place of beauty and recreation. It will be a testament to what we can achieve when we work together towards a common goal.

We can look forward together to a future with excitement and optimism as we build a Simpsonville that is:

simply brighter,

simply better, and…

simply home.

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