GREENVILLE — Marvel Drive may soon no longer exist as city residents know it.
During Thursday evening’s Greenville Planning Commission meeting, City Manager George Bosanic and City Engineer Doug Hinken brought forth a concept to relocate the roadway that currently sits adjacent to Spectrum Health United Hospital and five residential homes.
Spectrum has purchased all five homes on the east side of the street and it also owns all property to the west of the street, between Oak and Judd streets.
That scenario led Bosanic to propose a concept of abandoning the current street and relocating it farther east, thus extending the hospital’s property line and allowing for expansion.
“Over the years they (Spectrum) have been trying to figure out how to address their parking problems,” Bosanic said. “They’ve expanded, they have more services and more staff, but parking remains an issue.”
Bosanic said Spectrum has purchased several pieces of property in recent years north of Oak Street with the purpose of constructing remote parking lots, but he’d rather see the hospital expand parking on its main campus.
“I thought, maybe this is the time we talk about relocating Marvel Drive,” he said.
Bosanic said the project would involve five partners, including the city, Spectrum, Habitat for Humanity, Greenville Public Schools and the Greenville Rotary Club.
He said current talks involve gifting the five vacant residential homes owned by Spectrum to Habitat for Humanity. Three of those homes would likely be relocated, with two of them transported to property onCoffren Street that was recently re-zoned by the Greenville City Council from commercial to residential, and the third home relocated to South Street.
“The remaining homes would be salvaged by Habitat, and then maybe used for training and eventually demolished by the Greenville Department of Public Safety,” Bosanic said.
Bosanic said the city plans to exchange the rezoned property on Coffren Street with Habitat for Humanity, which in turn would provide the city with a parking lot near the corner of Franklin and Montcalm streets to be used as a city parking lot for a future splash pad that is planned for Tower Riverside Park, with the Rotary Club plans to contribute to financially.
The relocated street would be adjacent to Baldwin Heights Elementary School, and Bosanic said plans would likely involve moving the school staff and visitor parking lot entrance and exit off Oak Street and onto Marvel Drive.
Bosanic said school officials have expressed a desire that all construction occur this summer when school is not in session.
“Right now … everyone is positively moving forward, but there are no commitments yet,” Bosanic said. “But if we’re going to get this done by the summertime, the process needs to move forward.”
The first step in that process will be a public hearing to abandon the street, which members of the Planning Commission voted 5-0 to schedule for 6:30 p.m. April 27 (commissioners Brian Greene and Greg VanderMark were absent from Thursday’s meeting).
“We’re not required to hold a hearing, but we think it’s in everyone’s best interest,” Bosanic said. “We’re going to send everyone within 300 feet of the street a letter because it does affect the neighborhood.”
Bosanic doesn’t anticipate relocating the street would change traffic patterns too dramatically.
“What this is doing is just adding more property to the hospital,” he said. “This parking-lot-by-piece mobile, north of Oak Street, is not working. We have to come up with a better plan. Right now, when parents and buses pick up and drop off students, it’s a real mess and it’s a safety hazard. I think this will help with that.”
Design plans from the hospital remain in the conceptual stage at this point but will progress as things move forward.
Decisions regarding street-side parking, bike lanes, the width of the roadway and other elements will likely be recommended by the planning commission to the city council following the public hearing.
“It’s not unusual for this community to collaborate like this,” Bosanic said. “It’s pretty cool that we are able to do it in a way that meets everyone’s interest and timelines, but there are a lot of moving parts to this still.”
Members of the Planning Commission shared a general consensus that the project would be a beneficial one for all parties involved.
“We’ve known for a long time that this is a great opportunity for that area,” Chairman David Ralph said. “It will be interesting to see what people think at the public hearing.”