Beautification efforts go hand-in-hand with West Columbia redevelopment

City is working on several new parks set to be completed this year

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WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — As someone who has lived in West Columbia for more than a decade, Melissa Sprouse Browne says the city has many opportunities to become more attractive to the eye.

“If you drive down 378 and you see old dilapidated buildings and you see cracked sidewalks and you don’t see any vegetation, that’s not appealing, and that’s not what we’re about. We want to make it as appealing and pleasant as possible,” said Sprouse Browne, who is the Chairwoman of the West Columbia Beautification Foundation.

For the last few years, the West Columbia Beautification Foundation has worked on projects to spruce up major streets in the city.

Their efforts go hand-in-hand with a wider range of redevelopment projects taking shape this year.

“The west side is the best side for obvious reasons,” said Mayor Bobby Horton of West Columbia, “We want people to enjoy coming here, to raise a family, and to start a business.”

One project the city is working on is an interactive art park, which alongside a park designed for kids of all abilities to play together, is part of a larger plan city officials have to make the city more appealing to new businesses and developers. 

“What [developers] look for in the next development site is if the municipality invests in public spaces and making public spaces attractive, and that’s what we’re doing. We’re investing in public spaces,” said BJ Unthank, the Economic Development Director of West Columbia.

Working together with Midlands Gives, Sprouse Browne says she’s hopeful the community comes together to support the city’s beauty.

“It takes $200 to plant a tree. That’s a lot of money. So it takes a lot of funds to get things done here and we’re trying very hard to make a big difference,” Sprouse Browne said.

Reporting in West Columbia, Tim Scott, ABC Columbia News

City officials say the interactive art park behind State Street will be completed by the end of the month, while the all-inclusive park near the Riverwalk should be ready by July.

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