UPDATE: Columbia City Council upgrades Flat Branch Park, skips parking lot

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia City Council has selected one of the four options up for a vote on Monday night regarding the Flat Branch Park expansion, choosing the sole option that did not include a parking lot.

The park will then reach into a vacant half-acre gravel lot on the southeast corner of Providence Road and Broadway.

Columbia resident Alexander Aguilera said he visits the park regularly and is looking forward to seeing it grow.

"I think it can get the community more gathered, maybe a better sense of community," he said. "It would be good since its downtown, for the downtown life as well."

All four proposals included lengthening the right turn lane from northbound Providence Road onto Broadway, building a bridge over the creek, and destroying the concrete overhang from the vacant lot.

After the concrete is taken out, rocks and trees would be placed along the creek banks to beautify the area and restore the creek.

According to correspondence between the city council and the Downtown Leadership Council, the expansion will "create a much more open, attractive, and walkable urban park and a historical gateway to downtown."

The leadership council said it was concerned about safety, if they had selected an option with a parking lot, because it would create too much pedestrian traffic close to the busy street.