Despite crime, county council hopes to revitalize Broad River Corridor

By Jordan Sandler - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The search is on for whoever shot and killed a man at a Richland County bar and grill Tuesday night.

Thomas Golson was shot outside of Exclusive Bar and Grill on Zimalcrest Drive around 9:45 p.m. Investigators have not told us who they are looking for.

The murder doesn't do anything to help ease community concerns about the area.

Kimberly Headd just learned about Golson's death. The shooting was about a block from where she lives. "I am surprised," she said.

Nevertheless, Headd says she feels safe in her Broad River Road neighborhood.

"It's a misconception that it's a little rough, but it's not, it's actually not," said Headd.

Her only gripe about the area? Boredom.

"There's not really anything to do on Broad River Road," said Headd.

That could change in a profound way.  Richland County wants to start a revitalization project of the Broad River Road corridor, similar to what was done to the Vista and the Village at Sandhill.

"When gas reaches $4 a gallon, people are gonna want to live closer to town," said Richland County Councilmember Kit Smith.

Smith says the area surrounding the Dutch Square Mall was Columbia's original suburb, and then people moved outward toward Harbison. She said the population will inevitably trend back to the area.

"We do need more green space, and we need to make it more people-friendly," said Smith.

There are sidewalks through the Broad River Road Corridor, but they are mostly barren. Everyone gets around by car.  Smith hopes the project will change this, making the area more pedestrian-friendly, through adding new parks and a different kind of mall.

"Take that concrete and make it garden apartments," said Smith. "Create a public park, put a fountain in."

Headd is pleased with the ideas, mostly.

"That's exciting, versus, I won't have to drive all the way to Sandhill to enjoy those pleasures," said Headd. "I could just come right down the street."

This project is only in the very first stage, and the planners want your input. There will be public drop-in meetings held by Richland County and the Central Midlands Council of Governments. They will be next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. inside Dutch Square Mall next to Belk.

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