COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Sunday is the last day you’ll see the Title Loans building, or as the mayor calls it an “eyesore”, standing tall on the corner of Crowson Rd and Garners Ferry.
This was one of the buildings destroyed during the October 2015 floods, and now the city has plans to demolish it.
In a release from the Columbia Police Department, Code Enforcement Division plans to demolish the building Monday at 9 a.m.
According to the statement, the City of Columbia worked “closely with SC Emergency Management Division and FEMA to apply for federal grants to assist individuals and businesses that were adversely affected by the disaster.”
“After extensive information gathering and a lengthy application process to FEMA” The City of Columbia received a FEMA grant to purchase the former Title Loans property.
“Everyone is really excited for this building finally coming down. Not only is it a great eyesore, but it’s a daily reminder of one of the darkest times in our cities history,” Mayor Steve Benjamin said. “In 2015 we lost 19 precious lives. We saw incredible amounts of personal properties, business property damage and to finally take this building down is a symbol that we’re still moving forward even four years later.”
The City is required to return the land to green space “in perpetuity,” which Valarie Marcil, who is on the Gills Creek Water Association board says will serve as a positive impact for the creek.
“It should reduce the pollution in the creek,” Marcil said. “Green space in a flood plain particularly allows rainwater to soak into the ground rather than rushing directly into the waterway.”
Which in turn, “Fishing becomes more safe because there isn’t a chance of contamination.” Marcil said.
Mark Hering, who is the president of the Sherwood Forest Neighborhood Association, and also a realtor, says this demolition will help the city prosper.
“We got these gorgeous neighborhoods all around us and you have to drive past these things to get to the neighborhoods, somebody out of town goes what is this? It’s hard to explain why it’s still here,” Hering said. “It makes them ask hard questions or ones that I don’t have good answers for.”
The Gills Creek Watershed Association will hold a celebration at the demolition Monday morning at 9 a.m.
They welcome anyone to join.
“It’s a move in the right direction. We’re excited about it,” Mayor Steve Benjamin said. “The building across the street that I get calls about all the time is actually in the county so we can’t control that, but I’ve had some really strong and positive conversations with the new owner of that building." Mayor Benjamin said he hopes the Title Max Building, which was also damaged in the 2015 floods, will also be coming down soon.
"It’s going to be a wonderful way to move forward together,” Benjamin said.