New municipal complex under construction for Simpsonville; The city park is about to get a makeover

SIMPSONVILLE, SC (WSPA) – The City of Simpsonville is consolidating its city hall, police, fire hall and administrative offices into one area, in a brand new civic complex.

“It’s a campus-like setting on the outskirts of City Park. The police and the town hall will be united in the same building. The fire station with administration and fire personnel will all be in one building. So those are the two buildings in town. We are also allocating space for Greenville County to construct its summary court building,” said Simpsonville City Administrator Dianna Gracely.

Currently, the fire department administration building is separate from the fire department headquarters.

“The fire department’s administration building is separate from the first station, which is the headquarters, and so the goal is to consolidate them into one building,” Gracely said. “Also consolidate the town hall and the police in one building. The current fire headquarters and police department are very old buildings. They have a lot of mold issues so desperately need new facilities,” Gracely said. “The fire headquarters, I think, is a building from about 1959. The police department is a little newer than that,” Gracely said. “The police department doesn’t look that bad , but inside, like I said, they’ve been battling mold issues for years,” she said. “It’s hard to maneuver around the building. It’s very choppy. It’s so hard to get a good workflow in that building, it just wasn’t working well for them anymore.

“Then City Hall, although not a very old building, is on Main Street, and our goal is to redevelop that property to have private investment and redevelopment of that site. So it worked for us to move the whole complex together,” Gracely said. “That was the goal, to get us together in one campus and that way we all have access to each other throughout the day, and there are no cars from side to side. from town to join us.”

“I think it will probably be convenient for them. I think it’s a good idea to put it all together. It will be convenient for workers. Convenient for residents and people,” said Alycia Noll, a mother. “It will be easy to find all their answers and all their help in one place,” Noll said.

As for the park itself, some residents said they weren’t too happy.

The park itself is a bit run down as far as sports go but the playground has recently been updated and my kids love the zipline and new playground equipment. They have a new sensory area and those kinds of things, but the park itself could be kind of updated as far as sports are concerned,” Noll said.

The children of Noll will soon see these improvements to the municipal park, as the park will be given a facelift as part of a separate project.

“In addition to the municipal complex that we are building, we are carrying out a complete overhaul of City Park. So all the amenities will still be there, they’ll just be updated and in different places around the park when we’re done,” Gracely said. “An example, football pitches. We are delighted with that. Currently, they have about a pitch and a half. So they have a regulation size youth football pitch. The other area they use for practice. It’s an even playing surface, but it’s not legal,” Gracely said. “With this plan, we are building two regulation-size youth football pitches. They are going to be AstroTurf,” she said.

“The tennis courts, for example, are now at the back of the park. We’re moving them to a more visible location near the front, near where people park,” Gracely said.

Gracely said they have budgeted about $3 million for park improvements. She said the money came from a separate bond issue, apart from what they did for the municipal complex. The municipal complex is a $14 million project.

Gracely also said disc golf will move to the back of the property, where there are more trees and more obstacles for a better course.

“The part of the city that we borrowed and an installment purchase income bond, $12.5 million, and then we’re also going to use some of our ARPA money for green infrastructure with the development of the site. So the total project cost will likely be around $14 million,” Gracely said.

“It’s great for the kids. Kids need to get away from video games and get out here and play,” Noll said. “Updated gear will be great for them,” she said.

Leaders said overall it would be great for the city as well.

“It’s a big investment for the city, but it’s been a long time since the city has really invested in its buildings that serve the public,” Gracely said. “We think it’s very important to make this investment. Not just to provide better service, but to say to potential private investors, look, we care about the buildings we build and what we do and so it welcomes more private investment,” Gracely said.

Gracely said they plan to open the municipal complex in June and expect to be at the new location by the end of next year.

“Then there are the park improvements which are phase one improvements that will go hand in hand with the original municipal complex project and then there are other park improvements which will be phase two which will have to wait until we we moved,” Gracely said. “Because right now some of these park amenities that we’re showing on this site plan are actually located where the current police and fire stations are, so we can’t move forward on those projects until we haven’t left those buildings, and then we raise those buildings, and then we go to phase two of park improvements,” she said.

The complex is still in the design phase. The administrator said the renovations to the complex and the park are expected to take about two years.

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