COLUMBIA, SC — Preliminary concepts for the Devine Street and Fort Jackson area will be presented at a public hearing on Oct. 17, as part of the city of Columbia’s process for creating a master concept for the area.
The master concept, when completed, will recommend different types of land uses, greenways along the creek, pedestrian connections and what types of businesses and retail categories the area can support.
Interest in the area has grown with the addition of the shopping center anchored by Whole Foods and by community uproar over an adult video business that opened on the other side of Devine.
The area includes Midlands Technical College, the Bi-Lo shopping center, the old Kmart, the Whole Foods’ Crosshill Market shopping center, up to the gate at Fort Jackson.
In a public meeting on Aug. 15, some business owners and neighbors gave their ideas for the area, said John Fellows, the planning administrator.
Some voiced concerns about what kind of development will occur in the area, Fellows said. Others were interested in including pedestrian connections within the area, he said.
There was also input on what to do with Gills Creek and how to make it a better natural environment and amenity to the area instead of a channelized water area, Fellows said.
“We have really had significant input both from the business perspective and from the citizens in and around that area,” said Councilwoman Leona Plaugh
The city periodically does business corridor plans, Plaugh said. Planning studies like this are important, she said, so paramaters can be put in place to guide the redevelopment that’s taking place.
That specific area is “an important commercial node in the southeast part of our city,” Plaugh said.
A lot of people pass through the area to go to work or take their children to school, Plaugh said.
It is also a large draw because of the interstate access and Fort Jackson.
Once a finalized plan is made, City Council will evaluate it and decide if it is a good approach to the area. Then council would decide if any specific actions need to be taken and if the plan needs a budget.
In other business
The planning commission voted to make the recommendation to Columbia City Council to ban temporary labor services from neighborhood commercial areas, such as North Main Street, Five Points and areas near universities.
If you go
What: Public meeting on Fort Jackson/Devine Street area
When: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Oct. 17
Where: Sherwood Forest ARP Church, 4325 Wilmot Ave., Columbia
Reach Cope at 803-771-8657 or on Twitter @cassielcope.