Ten at the Top to Hold Trail Connectivity Workshop in Oconee County

Ten at the Top to Hold Trail Connectivity Workshop in Oconee County

October 10, 2019 [Greenville, SC] — Ten at the Top (TATT) invites members of the Oconee County community to participate in a community workshop focused on “Make the Connection: Oconee County Trails and Greenways.” The workshop will be held on October 17th from 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. at Blue Ridge Electric (2328 Sandifer Blvd., Westminster).

The workshop is one of 10 county workshops TATT is holding across the Upstate in 2019 as part of the 10th anniversary year for the organization.

“We’re very excited about the response we’ve had to the ten county workshops so far,” said Ten at the Top executive director Dean Hybl.

“Oconee County has so much natural beauty, and trails are one way to experience that,” Hybl continued. “But beyond the outdoor experience for trail users, trails have a very real economic impact, as is evident from the growth surrounding the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville County.”

The purpose of the workshop is for community members and business and elected leaders to explore what the possibilities are for connecting existing trails in the county and to understand the benefits to the community that such a trail system would bring.

Speakers Ty Houck, Director of Greenways, Natural and Historic Resources for the Greenville County Recreation District, and Brandy Amidon, Mayor of Travelers Rest, will talk about the Swamp Rabbit Trail from their different perspectives. Houck will talk about the nuts and bolts of getting a trail system built as well as providing statistics about the economic impact of the trail, and Amidon will talk about the impact the trail has had on the town of Travelers Rest, highlighting specific businesses.

Janet Hartman, executive director of the Oconee Economic Alliance, said, “We appreciate Ten at the Top coordinating this workshop in Oconee County. Community feedback is vital to our success and our future.  We hope to see many Oconee County residents, business leaders, elected officials and others join us at this luncheon.”

The Oconee County Workshop is free and open to the public, but advance registration is requested. Lunch will be served starting at 11:15 a.m., with the meeting starting at 11:30. You can register for the workshop here.

The Charles Townes Art and Technology Experience

The Charles Townes Art and Technology Experience

Quick—who was awarded the 1964 Nobel Prize in physics? If you came up with Greenville native and Furman graduate Charles Townes (extra points if you also came up with Nikolay Basov and Alexander Prokhorov, who received the award with him), then you’re going to love the Charles Townes Art and Technology Experience this Friday night in Travelers Rest. And if you didn’t come up with his name, you should definitely go see (and experience) the interactive art installation that uses light and sound to inspire curiosity and experimentation in viewers of all ages.

Created by multimedia artists Jeff Sumerel and Goda Rupeikaitė-Sumerel, the project was funded in part by a Hughes Investments Elevate Upstate grant, awarded last year at Ten at the Top’s Celebrate Successes event.

The husband-and-wife team were not, in fact, husband and wife when they began collaborating, but Goda’s work as a documentary director and producer as well as post-production specialist meshed with Jeff’s work as a documentary filmmaker—and they have become collaborators in life as well as in work.

According to a press release about this installation, “Jeff Sumerel and Goda Rupeikaitė-Sumerel create notable, one-of-a-kind stage and film works using traditional and non-traditional methods of production and collaboration to create entertaining, thought-provoking and memorable experiences for diverse audiences.”

Sumeral hopes that the curiosity sparked by this event will turn it into an annual event, bringing others in to create something new each year.

Asked what drew him to Townes, he says he was looking for a well-known Greenville native to celebrate, much like the town of Cheraw, SC has done with native son Dizzie Gillespie. He landed on Townes because “his spirit of curiosity, exploration, and risk-taking resonated not only with those working in science and technology but also those in the arts,” Sumeral says.

Photo credit: Alfred Eisenstaedt

So what exactly is an art and technology experience, and what can visitors expect? It’s not a laser show, nor a grand presentation or in-depth narrative about Townes, Sumeral explains. Rather, he says, it’s “an outdoor abstract multimedia installation that runs every 5 minutes,” with “a minimalistic film projection and audio soundtrack that incorporates quotes from Townes.”

Just bring your curiosity to the football field at Gateway Park in Travelers Rest on Friday, October 11th, between 7:00 and 9:00 p.m., to experience it for yourself! And if you find yourself wanting to know more about Townes, you can read about him here.

by Sharon Purvis

Stumphouse Park Offers Outdoor Activities for Everyone

Stumphouse Park Offers Outdoor Activities for Everyone

Click for a larger map of the trails.

Maintained by the city of Walhalla, Stumphouse Park is 440 acres of natural beauty and a recreational paradise. Within the park are picnic tables and a covered event pavilion that is available to rent for outdoor gatherings—but for those who really want to explore, there is much, much more.

The Stumphouse Tunnel was originally supposed to be a railroad tunnel connecting Charleston and Knoxville, but with the interruption of the Civil War, it was never finished. Today, it’s a family-friendly ¼ mile walk (flashlights recommended)—and its consistently cool temperature inside makes it a welcome treat in this unseasonably warm weather. It also creates ideal conditions for making blue cheese; Clemson University used it for that purpose in the 1940s and 1950s, until air conditioned cheese ripening rooms were built on campus in 1956.

Issaqueena Falls can be viewed from a platform accessible by a well-maintained trail that’s about a 5-minute walk from the parking area, and there’s an easy hike to the top of the falls.

At the top of the Issaqueena Falls parking lot is a trailhead for the Blueridge Railroad Trail, a moderate-to-strenuous hike that follows an incomplete railroad bed with two additional abandoned railroad tunnels—the Middle Tunnel, which has an opening that you can go inside, and the Saddleback Tunnel, which over the years has filled with water. The hike is 2.5 miles one way, so it’s a nice mid-length hike.

The Stumphouse Mountain Bike Park is ten miles of state-of-the-art bike trail, linking the town of Walhalla to the Palmetto Trail. The trails are multipurpose, so hikers may use the trail as well, although not horses. Click here for a short promotional video about the trail, and, if you’re so inclined, this one is a 15-minute video of YouTube user Newbie MTB riding the trail.

Park Entrance Fees: $5 per vehicle, $25 Annual Pass (Oconee County Residents), $35 Annual Pass (Non-Oconee County Residents), FREE for City of Walhalla Residents. Annual Passes can be purchased at Walhalla City Hall.

 

 

Union’s Environmental Art and Music Festival Celebrates Art and Nature

Union’s Environmental Art and Music Festival Celebrates Art and Nature

In 2018, Union’s Piedmont Physic Garden applied for an Elevate Upstate grant to help pay for a unique kind of festival: an art and music festival, but one that focuses on conservation and environmental awareness. For the first time in the five years that Hughes Investments had been awarding the grants, in addition to the winning projects, the PCC was awarded a matching grant of $3000 for the festival—and that was the impetus for raising the remaining funds ($1500 each from Union City Council and Union County Council) and getting the community behind the project.

Coie Switzer, director of the Piedmont Physic Garden, says, “We want to thank Ten at the Top and Hughes Investments for giving The Environmental Art and Music Festival its start. The $3,000 matching grant gave us the boost we needed to start this positive community vibrancy initiative in Union.”

In addition to the Piedmont Physic Garden, six other groups have come alongside to partner in this endeavor: USC-Union, Union County Tourism, Union County Arts Council, Union County Historical Society, Union Carnegie Library, and Union County Chamber of Commerce. The fruits of their labor will be realized this weekend, with the first-ever Environmental Art and Music Festival.

The festival celebrates Union County’s natural beauty and culture. It will take place in the heart of historic downtown Union, SC. The Vendor Village will take place on the campus of USC-Union’s Patrons Park, including food trucks and a mix of craftsmen, artists, and others whose works are based on sustaining natural products and resources. Click here to read more about it, from Linda Wilburn Weber of the PCC.

The festival will also include art exhibits at USC-Union’s Main Building, the Union County Museum, the Piedmont Physic Garden, the Union County Arts Council gallery and the Union Carnegie Library in addition to a Main Street Arts Stroll.

FREE outdoor music concerts will be held on Friday and Saturday nights at USC-Union’s Patron’s Park.

Schedule of Events

THURSDAY, SEPT. 26th Union County Arts Council 2019 Annual Art Exhibition Award Ceremony & Opening Reception @USC-Union Main Building 6 PM

FRIDAY, SEPT. 27th (All-DAY W/ EVENING CONCERT)
Vendor Village @ USC-Union’s Patrons Park 10 AM – 5 PM
UCAC 2019 Annual Art Exhibition @ USC-Union’s Main Building 10 AM – 5 PM
Sculpture Exhibit @ Piedmont Physic Garden 10 AM – 5 PM
Children and Teen Art Exhibit @ Union Carnegie Library 10 AM – 5 PM
Art Exhibit featuring Eola Dent at Union County Museum 10 AM – 5 PM
Art Exhibit featuring Thomas A. Tucker at UCAC Gallery 10 AM – 5 PM
Main Street Art Stroll 10 AM – 5 PM
Free Family-Friendly Bluegrass Concert featuring Tri County Express @ USC-Union’s Patrons Park 5 PM – 7 PM
Free Rock Concert featuring Dazed Renegade @USC-Union’s Patrons Park 7 PM – 9 PM

SATURDAY, SEPT. 28th (ALL-DAY W/ EVENING CONCERT)
Vendor Village @ USC-Union’s Patrons Park 10 AM – 5 PM
UCAC 2019 Annual Art Exhibition @ USC-Union’s Main Building 10 AM – 5 PM
Sculpture Exhibit @ Piedmont Physic Garden 10 AM – 5 PM
Children and Teen Art Exhibit @ Union Carnegie Library 10 AM – 5 PM
Art Exhibit featuring Eola Dent at Union County Museum 10 AM – 5 PM
Art Exhibit featuring Thomas A. Tucker at UCAC Gallery 10 AM – 5 PM
Main Street Art Stroll 10 AM – 5 PM
Live Music featuring Jordan Lawson 12 PM – 2 PM
Free concert featuring Nashville musician and Grammy nominated songwriter, Robert Arthur and Union band, QUEST @ USC-Union’s Patrons Park 7 PM – 9 PM

 

Ten at the Top Announces Date, Keynote Speaker and Topic for 2020 Upstate Regional Summit

Ten at the Top Announces Date, Keynote Speaker and Topic for 2020 Upstate Regional Summit

     

Best-Selling Author Richard Florida to Serve as Keynote Speaker of Summit Focused on the “The New Urban Crisis”

September 23, 2019 [Greenville, SC] — Ten at the Top (TATT) has announced that the 2020 Upstate Regional Summit will take place on September 23, 2020 focusing on the theme of “The New Urban Crisis.” Highlighting the event will be a keynote address from best-selling author and noted urban studies theorist Richard Florida.

In his book The New Urban Crisis: How Our Cities Are Increasing Inequality, Deepening Segregation and Failing the Middle Class – and What We Can Do About It, Florida looks at the recent trend of the young, educated, and affluent surging back to live in American cities, reversing decades of suburban flight and urban decline. He anticipates that this back-to-the-city movement demonstrates how the forces that drive urban growth also generate significant challenges for cities, including gentrification, segregation, and inequality. Meanwhile, many more cities and towns remain stagnate while middle-class neighborhoods everywhere are disappearing. Florida contends that we must rebuild cities and suburbs by empowering those communities to address their challenges.

During the Upstate Regional Summit we will explore how this “New Urban Crisis” is impacting both urban and rural communities within the Upstate. The morning session will set the context around some of the Upstate challenges and then a series of breakout sessions will dive deeper into specific areas of concern and opportunity. The event will culminate with a keynote address by Florida where he will outline some of the challenges and opportunities for all communities to overcome the trend and grow in a manner that promotes success and the ability for all residents to thrive.  The full Summit program agenda is available on the Ten at the Top web site.

About the Upstate Regional Summit

The mission of Ten at the Top is to encourage collaboration and partnerships on cross-sector and cross-jurisdiction issues that impact economic vitality and quality of life in the Upstate region. Held every other year, the Upstate Regional Summit is an opportunity for nearly 1,000 leaders and interested stakeholder from across the Upstate to gather together in one location to reaffirm the value of “thinking regionally” as a component of regional success while discussing key issues facing the region.

Become a Summit Sponsor

The best way to be engaged in the Summit and connect your business or organization to the 1,000 expected attendees is through a Summit Sponsorship. There is a full complement of event and table sponsorships available. Again in 2020 we will begin the event with the Partner Expo, which is a great way to showcase your business to leaders from across the region. Many sponsorships are limited in number to provide exclusivity and are available on a first-come first-served manner, so be sure and secure your involvement early. The sponsorship deadline is June 30, 2020 and individual tickets will go on sale July 1, 2020. Sponsorship details are available here.

Special Thanks

We would like to thank BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina for their continued commitment to Ten at the Top, including serving as the Presenting Sponsor for the 2020 Upstate Regional Summit. We also want to thank Hughes Investments and the Upstate Orate Speaker Series for helping us bring Richard Florida to the Upstate.

 

Ten at the Top to Hold Connectivity Workshop in Pickens County

Ten at the Top to Hold Connectivity Workshop in Pickens County

September 17, 2019 [Greenville, SC] — Ten at the Top (TATT) invites members of the Pickens County community to participate in a community workshop focused on “Next Steps for County Connectivity: Messaging, Marketing, and Mobility.” The workshop will be held on September 30th from 12:00–2:00 p.m.

The workshop is one of 10 county workshops TATT is holding across the Upstate in 2019 as part of the 10th anniversary year for the organization.

“We’re very excited about the response we’ve had to the ten county workshops so far,” said Ten at the Top executive director Dean Hybl.

“Connectivity can have several different meanings, and that’s reflected in the content of this workshop, from different municipalities within the county working collaboratively to crafting a cohesive message to transportation and mobility,” Hybl continued.

Pickens County Council Chair Roy Costner said, ““We are excited to see local business leaders, elected officials, and county residents come together to talk about the future of Pickens County.  Our county has exceptional people in each community who help to make Pickens County a natural destination for education, business, entertainment, and exploring the outdoors. This event will open a dialog on preserving what we have while planning for our growing future.”

The workshop will touch on various meanings of connectivity, from a unified county identity and message to aspects of transportation and mobility. State Representative Neal Collins and Costner will set the context for the need for connectivity, talking about the Pickens United initiative. Janet Hartman, interim Executive Director of the Oconee Economic Alliance, will then talk about how to craft a cohesive county message; and Keith Moody, general manager of Clemson Area Transit/CATBUS, and Keith Brockington, Transportation Planning Manager with GPATS, will address connectivity from a transportation/mobility focus.

The Pickens County Workshop is free and open to the public, but advance registration is requested. Lunch will be served starting at 11:45 a.m., with the meeting starting at noon. You can register for the event here.

About Ten at the Top

Comprised of public, private and civic leaders from across the ten-county Upstate South Carolina Region, Ten at the Top was created to connect and encourage regional collaboration through data-driven research and regular convening of leaders and citizens to address key issues facing the region. Ten at the Top works with regional partners to foster collaboration and strategic planning to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life for Upstate residents both today and as the region continues to grow. For more information, visit www.tenatthetop.org.