Falls Park, Spill the Beans, Mast General Store and The Marble Slab—there is almost a guarantee that students from Bob Jones University will be found roaming these numerous downtown Greenville hot spots.
But at The University’s Opening Exercises, thousands of students briefly pondered a Greenville devoid of their favorite coffee shops and study nooks as Mayor Knox White took the audience back in time.
Thirty years ago, as alumni may well remember, Main Street’s bustling restaurants and shops were nonexistent while the iconic Reedy River Falls’ beauty was hidden beneath a four-lane highway bridge.
Greenville, however, is renowned for its ability to reinvent itself.
The reinvention of Greenville’s Downtown was just a physical manifestation of the spirit that has long been part of the city’s foundation.
Mayor White said in a follow-up interview that Greenville, as we know it today, is the result of good planning. City officials have worked hard to create a city life that extends the office hours of nine to five and, as represented by the businesses and shops peppering Main Street, great partnerships. These ingredients, with the addition of the architectural masterpiece of a suspension bridge in place of the old highway bridge, were a recipe for success.
Today, Greenville is ranked as the No. 1 micro city of the future in a report done by fDi Intelligence, a magazine that specializes in foreign investment.
This report ranked hundreds of different micro cities, cities with populations of 100,000 or less, found in both North and South America. In 2015, Greenville boasted the fourth best downtown in the nation according to Livability, an online site that ranks the appeal of different cities across the nation.
The Greenville Area Development Corporation provides multiple sources used to highlight that the city’s economic growth is something to be impressed by.
Looking at the many successes of Mayor White and his creative team over the past few decades, it is obvious that Dr. Pettit was not exaggerating when he introduced White as the best mayor in the world.
Bob Jones University has been privileged to call this dynamic city home for 70 years, now.
Hundreds of graduates leave campus only to find their dream jobs waiting on the other side of town.
The mayor summed up this symbiotic relationship with the words “Bob Jones is Greenville, and Greenville is Bob Jones.”
“Keeping the finest talent from area colleges is a high priority for Greenville,” he said.
“It really is one of the reasons we work so hard to create a high quality of life. In today’s economy, all successful cities rest on the skills and creative talents of young people,” Mayor White said.
“In many respects, we build this city for you!” Mayor White said.
This deep-seated friendship flows all the way from the mayor, who has been a close friend and unofficial ambassador for the University for decades, to the graduates who offer their talents to employers.
In return, blessed by the vitality of Greenville’s economy.
In a recent follow-up interview with BJU public relations director Randy Page, Mayor White explained that Greenville has a high priority of keeping the various talent found in the numerous universities located around the Greenville area.
Mayor White said graduates of Bob Jones University, in particular, are instilled with Christian values that help create a community that thrives on excellence.
The continuing construction of the Swamp Rabbit Trail and the 60-acre park destined to accompany it is proof that Greenville will keep adding to the list of BJU students’ favorite hot spots.