Public service

Van Broad de Mauldin looks back on 15 years of public service

wide van will say goodbye as Director of Community Development with the town of Mauldin March 28.

The economic development veteran has been serving the Golden Strip since October 2007, when he started as Economic Director of Fountain Inn.

“When I started at Fountain Inn, the town had a depressed downtown with 60% of its businesses vacant,” Broad said. “There were only two restaurants, House of Pizza and The Clock. When I left in 2015 it was 90% occupied and I had recruited Cocina 100, El Patron, Sweet Catherine’s and J Peters. House of Pizza also became Orion’s Grill & Bar.

In addition to working on the revitalization of downtown Fountain Inn, Broad helped start the development of the city’s Highway 418. corridor by participating in the area’s first major housing project and recruiting Zaxby’s, Bojangles and McDonald’s to the area.

In addition to expanding the city’s business community, Broad worked with her team and other community members such as Anita Sleeman to transform the Fountain Inn Civic Center into a performing arts center, which is later became the Younts Center for Performing Arts.

“Fountain Inn’s rebirth really started with Van and his team when he was with the city,” said Fountain Inn Mayor GP McLeer. “We owe him a great debt of gratitude for making Fountain Inn what it is today and setting us on the path to a bright future.”

Go up the road

Eventually, Broad left Fountain Inn in late 2015 to accept the position at Mauldin.

While Fountain Inn didn’t have a performing arts center in its early days, Mauldin already had its cultural arts center in place, but the city primarily rented space for events and at the time only hosted a few events a year, including its annual barbecue party.

During his six years with Mauldin, Broad wrote grant proposals that led to the Cultural Center’s $661,000 auditorium renovation and $550,000 lobby renovation and expansion. Under his leadership, the city hosted a variety of events in and around the venue, including Beachin’ Fridays and PB&J – Pizza, Blues & Jazz Festival. Since expanding its offer of cultural events, the city has welcomed more than 30,000 people and added at least $300,000 to its economy every year.

Broad credits performing arts venues with contributing to the growth of both cities.

“I can’t say how much using events and the arts has helped create a downtown experience,” Broad said. “It was the catalyst for development in both cities.”

Broad also credits partnerships with city employees such as Director of Business and Development Services David Dyrhaug and leaders including Mayor Terry Merritt, former Mayor Dennis Raines and City Council, as well as developers for having helped Mauldin grow.

During his six years with Mauldin, Van Broad wrote grant proposals that led to the Cultural Center’s $661,000 auditorium renovation and the $550,000 lobby renovation and expansion. $.

“David Dyrhaug has been a partner in crime with me since he came on board,” Broad said. “We have done a lot of things together. I’m going to see David to get things done. David has been a great partner as he turns the plan review into days [and] who wins projects for cities.

Broad also helped bring Aldi and Starbucks to Main Street. The city is also expected to accommodate Maverick Station at the corner of Main Street and Butler Road and BridgeWay Station.

“Van’s contributions to much of our economic development as well as our community development efforts have been invaluable to our town,” said Mauldin Mayor Terry Merritt. “He left the necessary efforts to bring major projects such as the Downtown Pedestrian Village and Bridgeway Station developments to the city. Van has allowed our town to see real progress on many aspects of our redefining the Town of Mauldin as a destination for entertainment, recreation, dining, and a great place to live. His immense heart, spirit, love and passion for the future of our city will be greatly missed. I wish him the best in his future, wherever that takes him.

Broad isn’t quite ready to talk about its next chapter just yet, but the Upstate Business Journal will bring you details soon.