Petition gaining traction against State House lawn 'front porch' - - Columbia, South Carolina

Petition gaining traction against State House lawn 'front porch'

(Source: WIS) (Source: WIS)
(WIS) -

People are now petitioning against a plan to transform the South Carolina State House grounds.

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin’s idea would plant things like beach chairs, ping-pong, a putting green, and more to the State House lawn.

Signatures are growing online, led by Senator Katrina Shealy (R- Lexington), who drafted the petition. There are currently 1,049 signatures. 

Benjamin has already secured $195,000 through a grant, to make his idea happen. He tells WIS it's about getting families to the grounds. Shealy says she didn't take the idea seriously, at first, until she learned of the grant.

“That’s when I decided that maybe we just ought to tell him that it’s really a bad idea,” Shealy says. 

Petition signer's comment: "This is not a vacation resort. It’s the state and should be treated as such," and "It’s a historic government building. Not a playground." 

Shealy is tongue-in-cheek on what could happen under the plan

“I guess you’re going to have to put sand out there if you’ve got beach chairs throw a little sand out there," Shealy adds. 

“It doesn’t belong to the city of Columbia at all, and if we do that for the City of Columbia, some other town or city wants to do that, are we going to let them come do that?” she asks. 

Benjamin has said he will jump through the hoops to make his plan happen but hasn't responded to the petition yet. Shealy is suggesting with her petition that the mayor withdraws his idea, and the grant he’s secured be used for something else is possible.

Other senators have weighed in against the proposal, as well. Harvey Peeler from Cherokee County writing that the mayor listed the State as a partner for the grant, without their knowledge.

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