Back story

After years of disinvestment, the 1990s found the Arkwright and Forest Park neighborhoods struggling. Urban renewal in the 1970s had decimated the community’s formerly vibrant commercial core of 70 black-owned businesses. Economic revitalization initiatives that were improving the downtown areas of Spartanburg had not reached these communities. The only road into the communities was frequently blocked by standing trains, isolating them from other areas of the city. In addition, many residents had health concerns which they suspected were related to the presence of two hazardous waste sites and an active chemical manufacturing plant. These suspicions created high levels of tension and mistrust between community members and their industrial neighbors: a municipal landfill, an abandoned fertilizer plant and an active chemical manufacturer. In addition to their health concerns, community residents also complained of noxious odors and waste pond overflow into residential areas.

  • “ReGenesis, the Department of Health and Environmental Control, and the Environmental Protection Agency worked in collaboration to have the landfill designated as a Superfund site, which resulted in the funding necessary to close and cap the landfill …  the redevelopment of the Arkwright landfill can serve as a model for other communities looking to make a great financial and environmental investment.”

    – Waste 360

  • “As a result, the partnership led to a series of community design charrettes and a new vision for both neighborhoods. Area residents have experienced significant progress. They now benefit from a new, $2 million community recreation center, new housing, a much needed highway, additional green space, and new job opportunities.”

    – Fox Carolina

  • “As the focus of ReGenesis evolved, the organization continued to link other entities from the public and private sectors into revitalization efforts. The project found strength in Mitchell’s ability to establish new partnerships and to sustain them.”

    – American Planning Association (APA)

  • “Over the years, Mitchell has been adamant that communities must empower themselves by creating organizational structures to get work done, capacity building, and creating a shared vision for their community, and investing time and effort into understanding the history and the how of environmental justice.”

    – Politic365