Transformation of a forgotten waterfall and river valley into an urban oasis and centerpiece for the city
Falls Park on the Reedy reclaimed a polluted river valley and obscured waterfall to create a 26-acre multi-use park and the new heart of Greenville, South Carolina. The project involved the removal of a highway bridge to liberate the falls and replaced it with a landmark pedestrian suspension bridge offering stunning views of the city’s “most distinctive feature.” Winding trails are interspersed with manicured lawns and wooded valleys that connect the city with the river and support a diversity or recreational activities.
Falls Park on the Reedy puts the river front and center, repurposing an overgrown and forgotten valley into a centerpiece for the city that has captured the attention and pride of everyone in Greenville.
2015 Selection Committee
Completed in 2004, Falls Park is the realization of a vision that began nearly 100 years earlier and was advanced in the 1960s by the Carolina Foothills Garden Club, which led an effort to establish a riverside park. Twenty years later, the club commissioned a master plan that sparked widespread collaboration among city government officials and agencies, private sponsors, and local developers to create a well-designed amenity used by a broad cross section of the city’s population.
Falls Park was completed with public funding, largely comprised of proceeds from the city’s hospitality tax. The $13.5 million investment has yielded impressive economic and social returns, influencing nearly $600 million in development, including new waterside hotels, housing, offices, and retail at RiverPlace. It is part of a growing network of green spaces including the nearly 20-mile Swamp Rabbit Trail that links downtown with nearby parks, neighborhoods, and public amenities.