Identified in the 2004 Greenwood, South Carolina City Center Master Plan,The Emerald Triangle is a nine-acre triangular shaped area in the heart of Greenwood’s downtown business district. Though the origin of the nickname is unclear, Greenwood is commonly referred to as the ‘Emerald City.’ The Emerald Triangle is generally the area bounded by the railroad to the north and west, Main Street to the east, and Maxwell Avenue to the south. Oregon Avenue intersects the triangle.

As a part of the master planning process, community leaders sought a way to develop a cultural district in the downtown that would serve as a catalyst to fuel new economic development and investment. The plan was built on the revitalization of three key cultural facilities – the Greenwood Federal Building, the Greenwood Community Theatre, and the Greenwood Museum. These buildings are located on the eastern border of the Emerald Triangle along Main Street. Surrounding these buildings along Oregon and Maxwell Avenues are suitable areas for new and enhanced artisan and retail development. The buildings, particularly along Maxwell Avenue, have a tremendous amount of historic architecture and character. The average construction date of the buildings within the area is 1906.

In 2002, the US Department of Interior announced the decommissioning of the City’s nearly 100-year-old Federal Building. The 25,000 square foot Georgian-style building, located in the heart of downtown on Main Street, offered a perfect home for the arts. In February 2006, the Arts Center at the Federal Building opened. Renovations cost $2.2 million, of which $1.75 came from the Self Family Foundation, a $200,000 Rural Infrastructure Fund grant from the SC Department of Commerce, and the remainder from community donations to the Emerald Triangle Capital Campaign Fund. The facility includes a regional visitor’s center, a 3,300 square foot gallery, 150-seat reception hall, catering kitchen, conference rooms, and outdoor performance courtyard. The facility offers a wonderful venue for receptions, gallery showings, weddings, art classes, and community meetings.

The Greenwood Community Theatre reopened in February 2007 after a $1.2 million dollar renovation. Funding was provided by the Emerald Triangle Capital Campaign Fund, City of Greenwood, and the SC Arts Commission. The renovations have allowed the 300 seat Theatre to expand upon their previous offering of six shows per year with a forum for seminars, travel shows, and space for a monthly film series.

Music on Maxwell, Photo Credit: Jon O. Holloway

Music On Maxwell, Photo Credit: Jon O. Holloway

Renovations to the Greenwood Museum were completed in the summer of 2008. Funding was provided by the Emerald Triangle Capital Campaign Fund, the City of Greenwood, and a US Housing and Urban Development Economic Development Initiative (EDI) Grant. The renovated space allows The Museum to expand their display offerings and have available a large conference room. The combined conference room space of The Museum, Theatre, and Arts Center will allow Greenwood to attract regional conferences.

Today, one instantly feels the energy and life growing in Greenwood’s downtown core. The Music on Maxwell concert series, hosted by Photographer Jon Holloway, began in 2007. The inaugural year hosted musicians including Johnson City, Tennessee’s The Everybody Fields, New York City based Jesse Harris, Minneapolis, Minnesota’s Romantica, and Columbia, South Carolina’s Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion. An old auto parts store has been transformed into Meridian, a collection of artisan studios and shops located in the heart of the Emerald Triangle at 140 Maxwell Avenue. The studio is sure to be a magnet for artists who express their creativity through painting, sculpture, metal works, photography, jewelry, and more.

To learn more about the Emerald Triangle, feel free to call the offices of Uptown Greenwood Development Corporation at (864) 942-8448 or email uptown@cityofgreenwoodsc.com.

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