Columbia seeks to improve brick roads downtown

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia Historic Preservation Commission is taking steps to improve brick streets downtown.

Last March, the city council passed the Brick Street Policy, which calls for both maintenance and restoration of current brick streets in the downtown area. The policy bans removing any more bricks and protects brick streets covered by asphalt or pavement.

The city saved bricks salvaged from Short Street during the construction of The Broadway hotel and plans to repurpose those bricks to improve existing brick streets. 

HPC Chair Robert Tucker said one goal is to build a "demonstration street" with the recycled bricks. This street, which could be built on what is now Cherry Street, is an opportunity for the HPC to show the community new and innovative ways to build brick streets using repurposed bricks. 

"The old bricks are set in sand," Tucker said. "They move...but it's all in how you put them down."

Tucker also said brick streets are a valuable part of Columbia's architecture and give the downtown area its unique look and atmosphere. 

"They lend themselves to a nice atmosphere downtown that seems to be relaxing," Tucker said. "And if they're made well and they hold up, then they can be used."

The commission did not finalize plans for the street projects but will reconvene next week to further discuss the topic.