The Conservation Fund, in partnership with Upstate Forever—Spartanburg, completed the Spartanburg County Rapid Parks Assessment in 2006. The rapid assessment facilitated identification and prioritization of parkland, greenway and greenbelt protection opportunities that advance the goals of local parks and active living advocates.

Upstate Forever—Spartanburg and their funding partner, the Mary Black Foundation, were seeking to build more public support for parks and protected open space in Spartanburg County. They also wanted to leverage existing, published recreation needs assessments, greenway plans, and active living assessments developed for the city and county of Spartanburg. With limited financial resources and a need for more public support, a rapid assessment approach was necessary.

With assistance from Upstate Forever—Spartanburg, the Fund obtained input from a Stakeholder Advisory Committee comprised of local parks professionals and other advocates. Using this input, the Fund performed analysis using a Geographic Information System (GIS) that graphically represented suitable locations for parkland, greenway and greenbelt protection opportunities. The rapid assessment includes a ranking system and supporting information to permit Upstate Forever—Spartanburg to both proactively identify new opportunities and evaluate requests that arise from city and county residents.

The rapid assessment narrowed the “universe” of 5.2 million acres of land area to about 4,000 acres of top prospects most suitable to fulfill the county’s Master Plan goal of 1,500 acres of new parkland by 2009. The assessment also identified opportunities for existing park expansions, greenway trails, and a potential greenbelt along the Palmetto Trail and Pacolet River. In addition to an array of policy and funding recommendations focused on securing new parks and open space, Upstate Forever—Spartanburg also received a customized ArcGIS™ system for future planning and evaluation work and is utilizing the rapid assessment to garner support for more parks and protected open space.

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Download the assessment report