City planning experts working on new strategy for historic Midla - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

City planning experts working on new strategy for historic Midlands mill community

The city of Columbia and Richland County planning experts are getting closer to a new strategy for the development of a historic Midlands community. (Source: WISTV) The city of Columbia and Richland County planning experts are getting closer to a new strategy for the development of a historic Midlands community. (Source: WISTV)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

The city of Columbia and Richland County planning experts are getting closer to a new strategy for the development of a historic Midlands community.

Wednesday night they held the latest of several meetings aimed at creating a blueprint for neighborhoods where textile production was once a way of life.

Take one look at the Olympia neighborhood and you see evidence of its deep history: in the massive mill buildings now converted into upscale apartments, in the homes, and also in the churches that formed around the mill culture.

It is something worth preserving and enhancing, say planners and residents working to create a vision for an area now known as the Capital City Mill District.

“It's very important to the community, the history of the mills being here. There actually were five of the six mills in the area, in the City of Columbia, they're located within the Mill District boundaries. So this is an area that values its history and is proud of its history and should be,” Leigh DeForth with the City of Columbia said.

For months now, city and Richland County planners have been gathering input on how to approach the next phase of development for the Olympia, Granby, and Whaley neighborhoods, binding them together in a way that could help them overcome a series of infrastructure issues.

One of the most significant issues: the disruption and noise of railroads and motor vehicle traffic generated by football games and the State Fair.

“The consultants of the Boudreaux Group have brought in a team that is very skilled in complete streets. They're looking at transportation options from road diets, to making sure that pedestrians and bicyclists have a safer way to go about their business in the Mill District, to also looking at what we can do to work with the existing rail lines in the area,” DeForth said.

Other efforts focus on better code enforcement to smooth relations between the student-oriented rental housing and longtime residents.

Planners are still putting together parts that will make up a draft of a master plan for the new district.

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