Greenville Town Common, Sycamore Hill Gateway Plaza
The old downtown neighborhood in Greenville was once a vibrant African American community, and included the Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist church. All of this was destroyed by misguided urban renewal in the 1960s.
We engaged with the community of church members and former residents to address the neighborhood’s demise and to find a healing solution to redress decades of displacement.
Part of a larger master plan for a new public park named Greenville Town Common, we are designing a memorial space on the site of the former African American church. Towering stained glass walls will rise from the ground on the original footprint of the church following the pattern of original walls, windows, and bell tower. Park benches that recall church pews will be placed in the space that was once the church sanctuary. Existing trees surrounding the space maintain the quality of light that connects the visitor to create a serene and spiritual ambiance.
Freddie Outterbridge, a community member, describing his thoughts on the memorial.
Three key components were considered while creating the park’s design: community, spirituality, and history. These concepts are represented with three gallery spaces, encouraging congregation, learning, and reflection.
Lamarco Morrison, Former Parks Planner, City of Greenville
Downtown Greenville community and Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church congregation members were a fundamental element of the planning and design process: their histories and aspirations were the driving force behind the project’s design.