West Columbia moves to buy more parking, old City Hall

More sites for parking sought

The old fire station and city hall for Brookland on Center Street, West Columbia. (Photos by Terry Ward.)

The City of West Columbia made a move toward purchasing some long sought-after property.
West Columbia City Council, on Tuesday, voted to authorize West Columbia City Administrator Brian Carter to enter into an agreement with NAI Avant to complete the purchase of the Drexler properties at 431 and 435 Meeting Street and 426 Center Street, said Anna Huffman, the city’s public information officer.

The idea behind the purchase of the property is to develop a linear park and provide close to 100 public parking spaces to help support the business community on upper State Street, that is less than a block from the property. The property also is the site of West Columbia’s old fire station and a jail.
The old city hall and fire building predate the city hall that city offices moved from to the present location. The building has the name “Brookland” on it. Brookland was renamed West Columbia in 1938.

Construction started on the “Brookland” project less than two weeks ago.

“We’ve known all along we needed additional parking,” said West Columbia Mayor Bobby Horton.
He said the Hospitality Tax approved by council last year was passed to fund the purchase of property for public parking in the River District.
“Hospitality Tax funds will enable us to help alleviate the parking problem for businesses and Riverwalk,” Horton said.
Less than two weeks ago construction began on the multi-million-dollar Brookland project at State and Meeting streets. The property it is being built on was once parking space for State Street restaurants. When complete there will be 125 public parking spaces in a Brookland parking garage.
Horton said the purchase of the property Tuesday is only one part of the city’s plan to add more parking.
“We are pursuing other potential sites for additional parking as well,” Horton said.