Columbia resident asks council for help purchasing land

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COLUMBIA - A Columbia resident is asking the city to help purchase around 13 acres of land.

Kim Kraus spoke tonight at the Columbia City Council meeting, asking the council for its help to buy the land as a green space. Kraus said she represented about four dozen people from her neighborhood and surrounding area who live next to the vacant lot on Ridgemont Road. She said they want the space to remain undeveloped.

"The overwhelming reasons the land should not be developed are the on-going sewer overflow problems in our area, pollution of the Hinkson and County House Branch creeks and serious traffic problems in our neighborhoods," Kraus said.

Not every neighbor shared this viewpoint.

"I don't really care what they do with the space. My only concern would be where they parked their cars if it becomes a housing development or something," Sarah Merrell said.

The Good Shepherd Lutheran School bought the 12.6 acres of land about 12 years ago as a potential site for a school. But school board president Larry Samuels said these plans fell through when safety issues arose from the surrounding area.

"We were just concerned about the speeding cars in the neighborhood, and the kids getting accidentally run over by them when they would be released from school," Samuels said.

The lot is on the corner of Ridgemont Road and College Park Drive, which is about half a mile from Stadium Boulevard. Merrell said there is almost always a speeding car driving past.

"Hardly anybody goes below the 25 miles per hour speed limit. It's usually people who are cutting through from Chapel Hill that are in a hurry to get home," Merrell said.

Kraus said there are two other buyers interested in developing the land, which is why she is pushing to have the land bought as a green space. Although Samuels confirmed the two buyers to KOMU 8, he could not disclose their information or their intent with the land.