Columbia residents share city’s strengths, weaknesses

06/25/2014 7:50 PM

06/25/2014 9:28 PM

COLUMBIA, SC The city planning department is finishing up its three-day Plan Columbia workshop to help shape the city’s land use goals to accommodate its future development and growth.

On Tuesday, about 160 people attended a roundtable-style meeting to share their thoughts on Columbia’s strengths and weaknesses, and on Wednesday, dozens more dropped in throughout the day to share ideas with the planning team.

The workshop concludes Thursday night at 6 p.m., when the planning team and members of the community will look over the ideas gathered this week and begin to shape specific land use goals for the city.

Here’s what some people who live in Columbia had to say Wednesday about the city’s strengths and weaknesses.

Lindsay Johnson, 15:

“A growing city with all the shopping, new restaurants and so many businesses coming in and growing the downtown area is a strong point. ... (A weakness is) the north Columbia area, all the way from Harden Street going up to I-20. I think it’s pretty much the crime, a whole bunch of drugs, prostitution, poverty. Most definitely send more police out to that area ... (and) try to beautify the area and attract more businesses out there.”

Sarah Gough, 30:

“Strong points are these established neighborhoods with the big trees and the green spaces, and they’re walkable and bikeable, and there’s a real sense of community. ... As soon as you get out of, I call it my ‘downtown bubble,’ there’s all these places with no green spaces and empty shopping centers, lack of transportation, things like that. So ... connecting all those areas to the pockets that have a lot of those great things” is important.

Matt Woolsey, 55:

“Columbia’s greatest strength is its layout from its founding. ... Columbia is a city of big bones, good bones. A grid is the desired format for a city to be built upon. ... There should be no streets at all within the greater downtown area that don’t have sidewalks. There should be complete, 100 percent connectivity.”

Laury Vaughan, 70:

“We don’t have good public transportation in this city, and it needs to be developed. We need light rail, we need a better bus system, we need trolleys throughout the whole city and beyond. The other thing I would suggest is burying all the power lines in the inner city neighborhoods, because when you live in the inner city like we do, you feel like you’re under a huge spiderweb.”


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