The fate of the former State Hospital property on Bull Street matters to many people in South Carolina. So far, Columbia City Council has decided to support a development plan that could lead to some historic buildings being torn down, by pledging to spend tens of millions of taxpayers’ dollars for infrastructure as well as $29 million to build a minor league baseball stadium.
I think that the buildings there are beautiful and historically significant. Many were built before the Civil War at what was the start of mental health care in South Carolina. The Bull Street Asylum Campus also was used as an encampment for Union POWs during the Civil War and as a place of refuge for civilians when Gen. William T. Sherman came through Columbia in his March to the Sea.
It would be a shame to see something so old and so rich in our city’s culture and history be torn down. I agree that some of these buildings have become an eyesore due to abandonment, but with some restoration and repairs, they could be used again for new purposes. We have been ignoring this beautiful hidden treasure that has been sitting in front of us for decades. Surely a better compromise could be made, and the baseball stadium could be built elsewhere.