“Richland Renaissance” – a massive project is unveiled Tuesday by Richland County Council

By Karamie Sullivan

Richland County Council and officials are embarking on a project that is possibly the biggest undertaking in the county’s history.

Council members held a meeting Tuesday to unveil their plans for the “Richland Renaissance,” a name that represents upcoming drastic change. This project’s title was defined as “a powerful and innovative approach to solve a variety of problems facing Richland County.”

Council Chairwoman Joyce Dickerson introduced the plan by saying, “Richland Renaissance” will touch every corner of Richland County.”

Administrator Gerald Sears followed by recognizing some of the current challenges the county is facing.

“We have in the area three malls that sit idly, court houses and county offices that have run out of space, and numerous dark corners in the county that are considered unsafe, and a challenge for law enforcement,” said Sears.  He also said that he and council plan to implement a “total elimination of blight” throughout all areas of Richland.

A video was presented and broke down some of the facets of the project. According to the county’s video, there will be change in a lot of different areas. Included will be:

Consolidation of all county corroboration at Columbia Place Mall
Redevelopment at 2020 Hampton Street
Development of a “Start Hub” at Broad River Rd. / St. Andrews area
“Revivify Richland,” which will eliminate blighted areas, and make the county a better place to live
Establishment of a historic trail, highlighting key landmark sights throughout the county

Multiple council members touched on the monetary aspect of the project. Councilman Calvin Jackson, District 9, talked about different ways the county could generate funding for Richland Renaissance.

“The difficult part is figuring out how to fund it, making sure it doesn’t bankrupt the county and the citizens,” he said. “Do we sell current property? We do have some unused bond funds we can utilize.” Then later District 10 Councilwoman Dalhi Myers continued by saying, “The word ‘bankrupt’ has been thrown around a lot… we will not bankrupt this county on account of a building. But I guarantee you when this is done, everyone here will be equally proud to live anywhere in Richland County.”

Many different speakers stressed that the Richland Renaissance plan is fluid. Council members are willing and prepared to adapt the project based on responses from citizens of the county.

“If you believe every citizen in Richland County matters, you should make sure you take the initiative to support what we are doing, and be bold,” said Councilman Jackson. All members seemed to agree with one statement made by District 7 Councilwoman Gwendolyn Kennedy: “This has been a long time coming.”

Photos and images by Karamie Sullivan and Richland County staff.