Auro Hotels has announced a $500,000 contribution to help fund construction of the pedestrian bridge in Greenville’s Unity Park, the largest public contribution announced to date. The Auro Bridge will span the Reedy River in the center of the 60-acre park on the west side of Greenville.
Auro Hotels made the announcement during the grand opening of the dual-branded Residence Inn and SpringHill Suites Hotel on Washington Street in downtown Greenville. The beautiful nature of the region’s mountains, forests and rivers inspired the hotel’s design, and the contribution to Unity Park reflects Auro’s interest in enhancing opportunities for the community and hotel guests to engage with nature.
“Auro Bridge will symbolize the bridge Greenville has extended to the minority communities,” said D.J. Rama, President and CEO of Auro Hotels. “It represents the reception my family has received from the Greenville community since making our home here in 1977.”
Rama said the word Auro comes from the ancient Sanskrit language and means the dawn of new light.
“We are tremendously grateful to H.P. Rama, J.P. Rama and D.J. Rama for their generous support of Unity Park,” said Greenville Mayor Knox White. “This park will be a park for everyone, and I can’t think of a better way to express the importance and strength of Greenville’s diversity than by Auro Hotels sponsoring this bridge.”
Rama said barriers have fallen and opportunities opened since the company known then as JHM Hotels moved its offices here over forty years ago. As an expression of acceptance, the bridge represents the way Greenville has come to embrace its diversity and recognize ways minorities have contributed to its history.
D.J. Rama is the nephew of JHM Hotels founder H.P. Rama, who bought the Sunset Motel in Pomona, California, in 1973 and started the company. From those humble beginnings, the company has embraced diversity in its hiring and built itself step by step into one of the largest privately-owned hospitality companies in the country.
The contribution from Auro Hotels is the second announced contribution to the Unity Park. It is among nearly $3.5 million in sponsorships and $1.5 million in in-kind donations to date. Fundraising for the park began in April 2018 and has involved more than 70 meetings involving more than 130 guests representing 43 corporations, boards, commissions, foundations and private individuals. Groundbreaking for the park is scheduled for the spring with river restoration expected to begin in the fourth quarter. Portions of Unity Park are expected to open in 2021.
Visit greenvillesc.gov/1521/Unity-Park for additional information.