Avenue of the Columns Project Moves Forward
COLUMBIA - After 19 years in the making, the City finally agreed to move forward with the first step of the plans for the Avenues of the Columns project Monday night.
A big push for the project came from the idea of a "public/private partnership."
Both the City and the project committee is excited about getting the public involed right away with the changes, while also being able to have privately invested businesses. Mary Wilkerson, chair of the Historic Avenues of the Columns Committee, said there's a lot of businesses who want to play a part in making the area better. The project also has the financial support of the Special Business District, which believes it has the potential to be an attractive street.
The City said it already has the money set aside to fund a project like this one. The vision is to one day have a streetscape that extends from the courthouse columns to the campus columns. For the first step in the project they'll start off by creating a type of City Plaza around the corner of 8th and Broadway Streets. It will include brick walks, an area of trees, street furnishings like lighting and benches, as well as a more functional street for pedestrian movement.
A spokesperson for the Historic Preservation Committee brought a new idea to the City to restore the cement streets to the original brick that lies underneath and make the entire street brick. It would be an expensive project, but the City was interested at looking into the idea further at a later date.