Bull St. Project Passes First Reading

Columbia City Council votes 4-3 to move forward

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By Monique Williams

EAU CLAIRE, S.C. (WOLO) -- It was standing room only at the Eau Claire Print Building as more than 150 concerned citizens showed up to voice their opinion on the Bull Street Development Project, as Columbia City Council votes to move forward to second reading regarding the project.

"It's a game changer," said one resident.

"There is no master plan," countered another.

"Act; don't be hijacked," admonished a third resident.

There were no shortage of comments from dozens and dozens of folks who want to know what the future holds for one of the most significant pieces of property in downtown Columbia, the Bull Street campus and former home to the State Mental Hospital.

"We're either gonna be for business development or the homeless center for the Southeast," commented one local business owner.

City of Columbia officials say the project, 10 years in the making, will result in more than 11,000 permanent, high-wage jobs, $1.2 billion in annual revenue, and $20 million in new revenue for schools and local government for starters.

However, from the developer's competency...

"Bob Hughes knows what he's doing. Look what he did for downtown Greenville."

...to the possibility of a minor league baseball stadium...

"I just can't imagine peak time, when a game is over, folks leaving and arriving and how it will be positively integrated into the community."

...to the need for more public input before any changes are made...

"Citizens have the right to understand what we're getting into."

...it is clear what we're getting into is still very much on the table.

Council voted 4-3 to proceed with a second reading. Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine motioned to add a third public hearing to allow for more citizen input; however, the motion failed.

The second and final public hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, July 9, 2:00pm, Earlewood Park Community Center, 1113 Parkside Drive.

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