By Al Dozier
West Columbia will resume the demolition of Mill Village homes after a temporary delay prompted by a DHEC review of permit regulations.
City officials said DHEC has given the city clearance to proceed with the demolition, which has fostered complaints from the community about destroying historical homes that could be used to enhance the area near the Riverwalk. Five homes have been acquired by the city and targeted for demolition.
At the Aug. 1 City Council Council meeting, West Columbia resident Jennifer Boyd presented the council with a petition with 200 signatures opposing the demolition. She said another 300 signatures have been signed in an on-line petition.
She provided the council with photographs of the view from the homes, which provides a clear line of sight to the bridge and the skyline.
Boyd said the city could use the homes as part of the new development in the form of retail outlets that would serve the community.
Another West Columbia resident, Cindy Moye, said the homes could be integrated into new development as part of an urban village.
The city has offered the homes free to anyone who could move them from their current sites. But city officials said the cost of such a process was found to be too high.
In a statement on the project, the city said the Riverwalk has not been accessible to all the citizens of West Columbia because of the lack of convenient parking places.
“The city of West Columbia wants to provide excellent recreation and parking opportunities in the area, particularly for residents wishing to have feasible access to the Riverwalk, and for Mill Village residents frustrated by long-standing challenges with travel, traffic and parking,” the statement said.
The long-term plan for the site of the demolished homes include a park and playground for children