Council delays decision on downtown Walmart - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Council delays decision on downtown Walmart

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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Columbia City Council voted Tuesday night to delay the sale of Capital City Stadium to a developer to give more time to study the environmental impact of putting a retail fixture in the area.

Mayor Steve Benjamin suggested a 1 to 3 month study to determine how the proposed shopping center would affect the water quality on Rocky Branch.

City council met with engineers Tuesday morning to talk about how Rocky Branch Creek flooding could be effected if Capital City Stadium is sold and the property is used to build a shopping center that would include a Walmart.

The 2 mile creek runs from Martin Luther King Park, through Five Points and Olympia before emptying into the Congaree River.

A 2006 study recommended $40 million in changes to fix the flooding in those areas.

Plans for the property, dubbed Capital City Station, include an approximately 92,000 sq. ft. Walmart store, 3 smaller anchor stores and other smaller retail stores and restaurants. The Walmart building would be about half the size of an average Super Walmart.

The project calls for a total of 774 parking spaces, including a single-level underground parking garage with 209 spaces, and close to 100 spaces for bicycles.

The property will also feature a small green space along Assembly Street with a sidewalk and a creek and over 300 trees scattered throughout the development.

Some are calling on council to wait until a new, comprehensive study is completed before selling the stadium. .

"The facts that we know so far call for a lot more caution and prudence and thoughtfulness and more study before we commit to losing a very important city property," said Bob Guild.

The site's potential developer, Atlanta-based Bright-Meyers, hired an engineering firm to do a flood analysis of Rocky Branch Creek.

The developer's proposal is to lower the flood elevation at the site by about 4 feet, which would be done by installing a new culvert above an existing culvert in the railroad fill along Bluff Road.

That plan, according to Columbia-based Pace Engineering Consultants, would remove 15-20 acres of land along Assembly Street. from the flood zone eliminating frequent flooding of Assembly Street.  It would also prevent flooding of properties along Heyward Street west of Lincoln Street. It would also provide a first step in addressing the frequent Whaley Street flooding, according to the PACE study.

Other remedies include adding a culvert at Olympia Avenue, removing an abandoned railroad bridge near the Vulcan Quarry and restoring the creek at Olympia Park.

Benjamin says if the sale is eventually approved, it won't come without concessions from the developer.

"I think it'll come with significant conditions and contingencies that call for the improvement of everything from water quality to limiting the effects of storm water runoff," said Benjamin.

In the end, the approved study will cost the city about $100,000 -- that's money that could be pulled from the city's storm water, construction or reserve funds.

Copyright 2011 WIS. All rights reserved.

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SLIDESHOW Click here to view a gallery of sketches and renderings of the project. RELATED STORIES City Council halts sale of stadium after protests Plan to sell Capital City Stadium moving forward Capital

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