Fayette County

Lexington group to visit city in S. Carolina

Lexington Vice Mayor Jim Gray and Urban County Councilman Julian Beard are headed to Greenville, S.C., Thursday on an economic development mission.

"Greenville is one of the towns that has established a benchmark for its downtown that is above ours, so we're examining what it is about that that we could perhaps capture," Gray said.

When the trip was scheduled, as many as eight council members planned to go to Greenville. But scheduling conflicts shrank Lexington's delegation to two council members and Bob Quick, president and chief executive officer of Commerce Lexington.

Beard and Gray plan to see Greenville and learn what could be applied in Lexington.

Over the past 10 years, there have been major changes in Greenville's downtown, including changing one-way streets into two-way and developing a downtown park with a pedestrian bridge across the river, Gray said.

Greenville is also home to McCallum Sweeney Consulting, one of the nation's top firms helping businesses decide where to locate.

During this year's budget deliberations, the council set aside $50,000 to be used by the Economic Development Task Force, which comprises all 15 council members.

So far, the group hasn't spent any money. Beard plans to use that money to pay for his trip. It's unclear whether Gray plans to use that money, his council budget or his own money on the Greenville trip.