Homeowners Pack Meeting on Proposed Greenway

Columbia, SC – (WOLO) A public meeting turned into damage control Thursday night after rumors and misinformation spread on social media about a multi-million dollar greenway planned for an area still reeling from October’s flood.
Homeowners who live along Gills Creek listened to leaders from Richland County and the Gills Creek Watershed Association explain details like the cost, where the money is coming from, and how it would impact their property lines.

The greenway would start where Kilbourne Road intersects with Shady Lane on the southern end of Lake Katherine and follow Gills Creek south to Bluff Road.

Some homeowners in attendance at the meeting held at Brennen Elementary say the community would benefit from the trails and picnic areas. Others tell ABC Columbia they don’t like the idea considering the flood-damaged area has a long road to recovery.

Michael O’Neill says, “After the October flood, I think people should have a different perspective on what mother nature can do and this natural wetland should probably be left alone. I think it will distract the harmony and peace that we have in these neighborhoods.”

Susan Brownlee sees it a different way. She says, “A lot of the other cities such as Greenville and Charlotte have a lot of greenways and they have been successful and helped improve property values in the area and drawn in folks from other communities.”

The multi-million dollar project would be funded by the Richland County Transportation Penny Sales Tax. That was another concern addressed Thursday night. Richland County leaders say penny tax money cannot be used for flood recovery.

Richland County Councilman Greg Pearce tells ABC Columbia this is just the beginning of the public vetting process. Any plans would need to be well-received by the public and be approved by Richland County council.

The public is encouraged to reach out to their county council members with questions and concerns.
Your comments can be mailed to the Richland Penny Program: P.O. Box 3427 Columbia, 29230. Email comments can be sent to info@richlandpenny.com through February 26th, 2016.