New Year is a chance to fix some of Columbia's long-standing pro - - Columbia, South Carolina |

New Year is a chance to fix some of Columbia's long-standing problems

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The City of Columbia raised the roof and the bar for New Year's celebrations as 2014 got underway.

Now city leaders get down to more serious business. Choosing a police chief for sure.

By the time that person is scheduled to begin work in mid-March, the city will have been without a permanent chief for almost a year.

Another huge challenge is finding long term answers to homelessness.

The city's arrangement to run its winter shelter is due to expire in a matter of months.

And there are new signs this week the draft plan for homelessness solutions is meeting with disapproval from Councilman Cameron Runyan who's been spearheading the effort to reform the city's approach to the problem.

The city and Richland County will likely make progress toward major improvements on transportation infrastructure roadways, trails, bike lanes and sidewalks.

That along with upgrades for the Midlands bus system all the result of last year's passage of a penny sales tax increase.

As public infrastructure is enhanced we will see other big changes in our surroundings, some sparked by private investment.

More new restaurants on Main Street for instance in the Brennen Building and at the Agape Senior center now under construction.

USC's new Darla Moore School of Business is nearing completion.

And the Midlands will have a fresh view of the heavens when the State Museum finishes work on its new planetarium.

The roughly $23 million museum project includes a 4D theater that will let you feel as well as see what's being shown. It's scheduled to be ready in late spring.

We will also begin to see improvement and expansion at Riverbanks Zoo.

And the start of big changes for the Palmetto Compress building and the transformation of Columbia's Bull Street property.

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