RICHLAND COUNTY, SC — The future of a soccer-tournament park in Northeast Richland came into question Tuesday, as two new members of Richland County Council said they needed more information before moving ahead.
Councilwoman Joyce Dickerson, who has worked on park plans since 2006, tried to get members Julie-Ann Dixon, Torrey Rush and Kelvin Washington to say whether they wanted to “kill” the park.
Dixon and Rush are new to the 11-member council.
Dixon said she came into Tuesday’s ad-hoc park committee meeting without receiving background on the $22 million project, at Hard Scrabble and Farrow roads. It was designed for 18 soccer fields for tourist-attracting tournaments.
“I’m a very open-minded person and whatever I do, I want to get all the information,” Dixon said after the meeting, cut short at 30 minutes.
Rush, named chairman of the four-member committee, said he had no timeframe for a follow-up meeting. The 200-acre park property is in his district.
So far, the county has spent $7.3 million on the property and pre-construction planning.
Robbie Brax, with M.B. Kahn Construction Co., displayed a design, project estimates and a sketch of the main reception building.
Things began to fall apart when Rush asked what happened to a gymnasium planned for the park.
Dickerson responded that the council had decided to scale back.
Washington then suggested decisions about the design, as well as a proposed contract with Columbia United to run the park for the county, wait until Dixon and Rush are “up to speed” on the plans.
Dickerson responded: “I’m not exactly sure where we are on this project. How long have we been discussing this? ...
“If we want to proceed, we want to kill it, that’s fine. Is this a project we actually want?”
Then Dickinson asked Washington if he was “comfortable” with the project.
Washington, referring to Dixon and Rush, responded: “Politically, they’ve got to live with it. If their heart’s not in it, why should we proceed?”
Rush said he’s still “evaluating” the project but has concerns about how the county will pay for maintenance.
Reach Hinshaw at (803) 771-8641.