GREENVILLE, S.C. — The Michelin Corporate Foundation is donating $1 million to protect and restore a span of the Reedy River that runs through Greenville's Unity Park, marking the largest contribution to the park project to date.
The donation will impact the restoration of the half-mile section of the Reedy River that bisects Unity Park. Along its banks, a 9-acre greenspace will be named Michelin Green. Adjacent to the park visitor center and as the central focal point of the park, Michelin Green will serve as Unity Park's gathering place and lawn seating for the park's outdoor stage.
"As a member of the Greenville business community for over 40 years, Michelin is honored to partner with the City of Greenville to bring this beautiful 9-acre space to life for Greenville residents and visitors alike," said Joanie Martin, chief administrative officer at Michelin North America. "In the spirit of mobility that brings people together from all backgrounds and walks of life, we look forward to multiple generations of families that will enjoy fellowship and recreation throughout Michelin Green."
The 60-acre Unity Park is a transformational public-private project on the west side of Greenville that will knit together historic downtown neighborhoods. The park will encourage recreation, inclusiveness, exercise and sociability, according to project officials. The city has set aside 8.3 acres of land it owns on the edges of the park for affordable housing.
"Michelin altered the economic trajectory of our community when it opened a tire plant in Greenville County and established its North American headquarters here in 1985," said Greenville Mayor Knox White. "The vision of Francois Michelin, the grandson of the company's founder, transitioned Greenville from a textile town to a diversified manufacturing city and paved the road for other international businesses to locate here.
"Almost 35 years later, the company is again helping to reshape our community with this generous grant from the Michelin Corporate Foundation to preserve green space and protect the Reedy River. The company's partnership in the transformative Unity Park project adds to Francois Michelin's legacy and Michelin's extraordinary impact on the Upstate and our community."
The Michelin Corporate Foundation was created in January 2014 on the initiative of Jean-Dominique Senard, former president of the Michelin Group. The Foundation operates in five key areas: sustainable mobility, education and community, protecting the environment, sport and health, and heritage and the arts.