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Monday
Nov262012

What's the Problem With North Columbia?

All too common image in ColumbiaLeaders in Columbia and Richland County have got to answer this if we want to succeed in breathing life into the North Side of the city.

I appreciate the efforts that Columbia City Council is trying to push through to develop these areas. The Renaissance TIF district has some really good projects in them. We MUST have a comprehensive focus. Simply throwing money at the area will not work.

At work we have had people that use to live in North Columbia, notably the Sugartown and Elmwood. I say had because they have left Columbia. It wasn't because of the tax rate or traffic. It was due to Crime and Homelessness.

Crime is eating away at our neighbors in NoCo. People simply don't feel safe. Part of this is due to the rampant homelessness problem in the heart of the city.

For example I go to church at Taylor Evangelical Methodist on the corner of Richland and Barnwell. At the heart of the church is the Taylor Family Cemetery. We can't keep the homeless out of the area. During homecoming we had a homeless man walk up into the cemetery to retrieve his possessions that he had stowed there. He didn't do anything to hurt anyone. It still scared the parents (including myself) that had kids playing in the church yard.

People in Eau Claire and other parts of North Columbia deal with this all the time. Not just a few hours on Sunday. Until these key problems they will continue to curtail investment and development in the area.

TIFs and other elaborate projects may do some to help the city. They may well be part of the solution. The larger issues have to be addressed as well or the investment in the city is just going to be a wasted effort.

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