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Old Town fights expansion plan

Greenwood officials are considering a plan to raze a row of commercial buildings along the south side of Main Street in a downtown area known as Old Town. Local merchants, however, think the city will lose its personality if it demolishes the 19th century buildings between Madison Avenue and Meridian Street.

Area merchants say a wider Main Street and new development would come at the cost of the area’s signature historic charm.
They’ve also complained that city officials haven’t talked with them about the plan.

Service-station owner Dwayne Debaun and several other property owners along Main Street said they’d refuse to sell their property for the street-widening project. Other business and property owners along the stretch, including prominent attorney Joe Van Valer, support the project, saying they’d consider selling their land and moving their businesses.

Traffic flow has long been a concern in Old Town, and city officials have looked at a number of ways to draw more traffic and increase commerce there.

Mayor Charles Henderson said the city could consider buying the land through eminent domain if necessary, but it isn’t to that point yet. The city’s plan includes widening a nearby creek to allow paddle boating and fishing and making room for new retail development.

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