Caffeinated Conversations: The Story of The Northside

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 4:00 pm

by Zach Fox

Harvest Park is the gateway to the revitalization effort ongoing in Spartanburg’s Northside.

Sitting on Howard Street near the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine, Harvest Park was one of the first touches of the new life planned for the Northside. A large wooden canopy provides cover for the Hub City Farmers Market each week. The Monarch Café, run by the Butterfly Foundation, offers the Northside access to healthy food and houses cooking classes for adults and children.

“We have a lot of different things going on,” said Liberty Canzater, president and founder of The Butterfly Foundation.

Canzater and Caroline Sexton, executive director of the Hub City Farmers Market, were the featured guests at October’s Caffeinated Conversations, held on a brisk morning under the canopy that houses the Farmers Market on Saturdays.

The Northside redevelopment effort has been underway for years, aiming to revitalize one of the most impoverished areas of Spartanburg County. Much of the revitalization work has been spearheaded by The Northside Development Group with aid and support from organizations across Spartanburg.

Plans call for housing and mixed-use development construction to include commercial space and medical offices.

The newly-built Butterfly Creek project serves to connect a public park behind Howard Street and Harvest Park. The park includes walking and bike paths, benches, a pavilion and an outdoor learning area for kids. A 120-foot bridge now connects Farley Street to Harvest Park.

Construction is underway on The Franklin School, an early-childhood learning center that will serve students living on the Northside.

Soon, construction is set to begin on the T.K. Gregg Community Center, which will include a gym, community rooms, locker room space and an indoor pool on the first floor with a walking track, fitness room and multipurpose room on the second floor.

Sexton and Canzater described how their respective organizations have played a part in the ongoing Northside revitalization.

The Butterfly Foundation started as an organization dedicated to providing housing to under-and-unemployed and underrepresented residents across the county, but has since branched into culinary and job training programs as well, Canzater said.

Monarch Café now hosts events like cooking courses for adults and for children, featuring healthy food.

“The love that because they make the food they eat,” Canzater said. “Parents will say, ‘they never tried salad before.’”

The Hub City Farmers Market, the longest-running farmers market in the Upstate, has also expanded its operations to include the Mobile Market, which offers healthy food options across Spartanburg County, and a field trip program to help get county students involved in education about and production of healthy food.

Sexton said the Farmers Market has made strides increasing the supply, demand and access to healthy food in Spartanburg as a whole, but in the Northside in particular.

“We want everyone to have access to healthy, local food as long each year as they can,” Sexton said.

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