Preservation Effort Wants Columbia Paved With Bricks
COLUMBIA - A Columbia realtor and historic preservationist said Wednesday he would like to see brick hidden beneath the streets of downtown Columbia exposed again. Brent Gardner of the city's Historic Preservation Commission would like to what he calls "hidden treasures" uncovered, but in order for that to happen he has to get the support of the city. Gardner said all of the local business owners he's talked to are behind him.
"People tend to drive slower on brick roads and in turn people may notice businesses more," said Gardener, vice chairman of the Historic Preservation Commission.
Gardner also said that, in theory, downtown would be a safer place since people would slow down on the brick roads as well. Gardner said since the brick roads already exist, it is an environmentally friendly product. He said brick roads also last 80 to 100 years as compared to regular paved streets which only last 10 to 15 years. Gardner said the brick roads will pay for themselves over time.
"When you think about the cost of repaving streets, it gets expensive with the hauling of the materials and the gas it takes to move the old pavement out," said Gardner.
While there are some benefits to brick roads, one Columbia man said there could be problems.
"You could have potential car damage if you drive on brick roads too fast," said Johnathan Davis.
Davis said if brick streets are paved evenly and maintained, he wouldn't have a problem with them being downtown. Another Columbia man said where he's from in New York, they actually clean the brick streets there with soap and water.
"What we need here in Columbia is for the city to keep the brick streets we have clean because it's unique, classy, and beautiful," said Gamal Dirar.
Gardner is in the process of trying to focus on uncovering just one street to start. He did not specify which street, but said he has it narrowed down to three. Gardner said if all goes according to plan, funding may come from the state and the federal government.
For a map of all the brick streets in Columbia, click the link.