Upstate Headlines: Greenville names new city planning director

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A collection of the top Upstate headlines for the week of December 19, 2016

Greenville names new city planning director
Greenville finally has a new planning director after months of vacancy. His name Jay Graham and he’s anti-bureaucratic and red tape. In fact, Graham believes government should be an active part of the planning and construction process and not an independent, outside deterrent. Over the course of his career, Graham has been on both sides. For four years, he was planning and building director in Florence County. Prior to that, he worked in Wilmington, N.C. as the head of that city’s building, code and zoning program. But before entering public service, he worked in the construction industry and as a licensed architect. Graham begins on Jan. 17.

636175140360434078-city-of-greenville-logo Free parking downtown on Christmas weekend
Last minute shoppers, those who’d like to show off Greenville to their visiting friends and family and anyone else who might be headed downtown this weekend will be able to park for free. City officials announced all city lots and garages will be free beginning Friday and lasting through Sunday.

willytaco1-642x325Willy Taco opens new location in Greenville
Willy Taco, a Mexican fusion restaurant born in Spartanburg, on Tuesday opened its second location in the former feed and seed store at 217 Laurens Road in Greenville. The 200-seat restaurant is about twice the size of the original Willy Taco at 930 E. Main St. in Spartanburg. “It feels great,” Heatly said. “We’re really excited to be able to grow the Willy Taco brand. It started in Spartanburg. We’re all Upstate guys. Through the hard work of the folks who clock in and out every, this is possible. We call them our ‘familia,’ our family. That’s what they are.”

map_of_south_carolina_shaded27 Upstate companies named to South Carolina 100
Milliken & Company of Spartanburg tops Grant Thornton’s latest South Carolina 100, its annual ranking of the top 100 private companies in the state. Twenty-six other Upstate companies also made the list. Grant Thornton, an independent audit, tax and advisory firm, ranks the companies based on their net revenues for their most recently completed fiscal year. Three Upstate companies appeared in the Top 10 with the same ranks they held in 2015 and 2014, and several Greenville companies rose significantly in rank since last year.

636172467594010324-lp-church-street-bridge-b-121316Major Church Street bridge project to disrupt downtown traffic
On busy days, it seems the backup of rush-hour traffic on the Church Street bridge can’t get much worse — but come springtime, it will. The state Department of Transportation is planning a major, four-month maintenance project that will limit traffic crossing the U.S. 29 bridge that is an iconic presence across and over the downtown skyline. The rehabilitation project — which will replace the top few inches of the bridge deck for a longer lifespan — is expected to last from April through the end of July.