GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A new City of Greenville ordinance would get more bars up and running in the uptown district. This is causing concern for one hotel making that area home.
The CEO of Co-X, which is developing the new Hilton Garden Inn in Uptown Greenville, said if not done correctly, this new plan could bring more harm than good. The rule would allow new bars to open within 500 feet of existing ones, but according to the hotel developer, CEO of Co-X, Scott Diggs, more regulations need to be added before Greenville City Council gives its final approval.
“We are not at all opposed to the 500-foot rule being repealed, that’s not the issue, the issue is making sure that the proper guardrails are put in place to allow and promote for positive development and growth of the Uptown district,” said Diggs.
He explained that “guard rails” are certain regulations that he believes should be met before businesses are approved to come to Uptown, such as earlier closing times, food service, and limited capacities.
“If you take a look at the downtown streets three, four years ago, there was a lot of very unsafe feelings in the downtown area, and a lot of people loitering, hanging around. We had stabbings, we had shootings, we have drug deals that were being promoted right in the center of our streets,” he said.
He explained that allowing more bars without implementing strict regulations could recreate these safety issues.
“You’ve got people coming in town to sleep in our hotel, and if there is an unsafe population roaming the streets and loitering in downtown, my concern is they’ll stay at our hotel one time,” said Diggs.
He said an unsafe Greenville would be detrimental to economic development, saying, “I mean, you can’t have new boutiques and new shops open up in a new hotel opened up and nobody’s staying downtown because they feel unsafe. It’s totally counterproductive. Everybody loses in that situation.”
Diggs said he believes the city and businesses all want the same thing in this situation, but it has to be done correctly.
Following the approval of the rules from the planning board Tuesday night, Greenville Mayor PJ Connelly said they are thankful for the feedback from Diggs. The ordinance will be brought back to the city council in May, where they will have the opportunity to make modifications before its final approval.