Meeting to discuss future of 300 acres near Williams-Brice Stadi - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Meeting to discuss future of 300 acres near Williams-Brice Stadium

There are 300 acres of land in Columbia that are getting a lot of attention because they could be developed into two very different things.

The University of South Carolina and Vulcan Materials Company are fighting for the right to purchase the property off Bluff Road.

USC wants to add to the adjacent practice fields and tailgating facilities by Williams-Brice Stadium.

Vulcan wants to possibly turn the land into another quarry.

A group called Sustainable Midlands is concerned if Vulcan ends up winning the bid, it would change the zoning of the area from residential to industrial.

"It's a quality of life issue," Executive Director of Sustainable Midlands, Stephen Stokes said. "We look at that area and say well ‘we've got student housing that's moving in.' USC has invested millions of dollars in terms of practice facilities and upgrades to the football complex down there. It's a southern gateway for Columbia. We've got hundreds of thousands of tourists that are coming and using Shop Road and Bluff Road and that area is really starting to become less industrial and it's moving more towards an area that you see people wanting to live in. It's just not right for a quarry."

"We're not against a quarry," Stokes said. "We understand the need for stone."

Another question is the impact the land would have on student-athletes if it were turned into a quarry.

"Our concern and also USC's concern is the health and quality of the student athletes," Stokes said. "So you look at the health concerns associated with a quarry: With the particulate matter, the blasting, the noise, the congestion associated with it. Those types of things aren't good for student athletes. Especially those athletes that are practicing on those fields right next to where this quarry is going to operate."

A representative from Vulcan said it's not too often that large of a piece of land becomes available next to the current operation facility. But the company is looking long term to see if the property works into its plan.

Sustainable Midlands is holding a meeting Tuesday at 5:30 at 701 Whaley Street in Columbia to discuss what it would mean for the community should either company get the property.

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