Gills Creek Greenway A Update 06/07/2018

Greetings!

Thanks to everyone on our mailing list who has been a supporter of GCWA's efforts to establish a greenway along Gills Creek! Some of you may have been with us since we imagined this in 2011!

Penny Tax Greenway Funding
The good news is the scope of work for the design of the greenway has been approved by County Council. The bad news is this contract will be for a section from Beecliff Rd to around Mikell Lane paralleling South Beltline. The PDT considers this stretch to be relatively easy to develop working documents for.

County Council approved an unfortunately named "Gills Creek Greenway Section A Final Design" on June 5. This means that the PDT's on call engineers will begin an assessment of the possible routing from Beecliff to Mikell and develop final plans for that section.

This is not a final comprehensive plan for the greenway!

Funds are still available for the sections from Beecliff to Rosewood to Devine to Fort Jackson Blvd, and the PDT will begin developing plans for that section. The section from Beecliff to Ft Jackson Blvd will require working with the SCDOT to design crossings at Rosewood, Devine and Ft Jackson Blvd plus other considerations which make the design more complex.

The bad news is the City is insisting on an urban greenway which will be a 14' wide paved path or 14' wide boardwalk. Other requirements may include lighting, call boxes, water fountains and more. These requirements will increase costs per foot, and limit the length of the greenway using the currently allocated funds. For comparison, the Three Rivers Greenway is an 8' to 10' greenway. The City has agreed to take possession on the greenway and provide maintenance and security after construction so their requirements are crucial to the design.

The City also has a 'rural' greenway classification which has reduced requirements. We feel that classification may be appropriate below Rosewood.

Representatives from GCWA continue to meet with the City, the County and the Penny Development Team.

Crowson Rd 319 Grant Stream Restoration Project
GCWA reviewed the RFQs for the grant and conducted face-to-face interviews with the top rated firms and have chosen a final candidate. We will negotiate and approve a contract in the next few weeks.

As we mentioned before, you will see construction in the area beginning soon, but that is a City of Columbia sewer line upgrade! We have met with the City regarding this project to ensure planning coordination with the stream restoration plans.

Read more about the project at http://www.gillscreekwatershed.org/gills_creek_crowson_restoration.html

Blue Ribbon Committee News
GCWA attended the June 5 meeting. Good news is that the County is moving forward with a number of residential and commercial voluntary buyouts through the FEMA hazard mitigation program. Also additional grant monies have become available and the County will be developing a plan for further flood mitigation projects.

Transportation Penny Advisory Committee Meeting (TPAC)
We attended the County's advisory committee meeting on Monday, May 21. There was not a quorum so no business could be conducted. There were reports from the Office of Small Business Opportunities program, the Penny Development Team (PDT) and Central Midlands Regional Transportation Authority (CMRTA). There was no report to the committee on the greenway.

Observed committee members attending: Phillip Simoneaux (City of Columbia), Richard Brown (Richland County), Malcolm Gordge (Blythewood), John Epting, Cyril Busbee, Larry Funderburk (Arcadia Lakes), Nathaniel Miller, Karim Johnson (Richland County), Frank Anderson (Irmo), and Norman Jackson. Dr John Thompson, the Transportation Penny Director was in attendance.



Gills Creek Greenway A

Gills Creek Greenway A Penny Project

The citizens of Richland County approved a penny increase in the sales tax to fund transportation improvements. A portion of those monies will be available for the development of greenways. Three locations along Gills Creek were identified as sites for greenway development including the area encompassed by our plan.

We believe a greenway could be a great asset to the community, as it has been for many others. We have been working with the Penny team to develop plans for the greenway, and have been seeking other funds to enhance the plan by improving the condition of the creek.

The Penny Team's web site is richlandpenny.com and you can contact them by email at info@RichlandPenny.com.

Goals and Objectives

The Gills Creek Watershed Association's mission is to restore and protect the watershed primarily by reducing the impacts of the urban environment. Our goals include:
  • Improve water quality in the Gills Creek Watershed
  • Reduce stormwater runoff and flooding
  • Develop access for pedestrian and paddling recreation
  • Better habitat in and along the creek for wildlife and aquatic life
  • Create a great place for people to connect with nature
  • Provide new educational opportunities for schools and the community
  • A signature place in Columbia; a center of community pride
By getting folks out enjoying the creek, we hope to increase appreciation for the creek and generate interest that will help us achieve our other goals.

On the north end, trail will nearly reach the Capital City Passage of the Palmetto Trail on Kilbourne Road. The plan that has been adopted, starts the greenway at Ft Jackson Blvd.

At the south end, current funding will likely allow construction of the greenway to the Mikell Lane area. GCWA is working to secure additional funds to extend the length.

In between there are numerous opportunities for walking, jogging, cycling and paddling trails, nature observation, fishing, and other outdoor activities.

And there is the opportunity to restore, retrofit, and the institute best management practices (BMPs) to reduce pollution, the impact of stormwater runoff, and flooding in developed and undeveloped areas.

A Richland County Conservation Grant allowed us to develop a master plan that was presented in November 2013.
View or download the Gills Creek Middle Watershed Master Plan as a pdf file.

City of Columbia Commercial Devine St/Fort Jackson Commercial Node Plan evaluated the area of Devine St, Crosshill Rd and Fort Jackson Blvd for land use and urban design, market conditions, transportation, utilities and green infrastructure, and to propose a conceptual plan including recommendations and implementation strategies for future development.
More information about the study is available at the city's Planning and Development web site.

The City also has a Walk-Bike Columbia web page which allows the user to identify places on a map where they want improvements for biking, walking, access to transit, or a bike share station in Columbia!

The current route of the Palmetto Conservation Foundation's Palmetto Trail runs along Kilbourne Rd across Gills Creek. Our trail would connect to Kilbourne just east of the creek.
More info is available at the Finish the Palmetto Trail web site.


Greenway Facts...

General benefits, economic benefits, health benefits, safety and environmental facts.


Greenway Examples...

Swamp Rabbit Trail, Falls Park on the Reedy, Little Sugar Creek, San Antonio River Walk


Middle Watershed Plan

A working group in the Gills Creek Watershed Association developed an aspirational plan to improve the urban area from Ft Jackson Blvd to Rosewood and to preserve the other relatively undeveloped stretches of Gills Creek from the Lake Katharine dam to Shop Road as a greenway and a blueway. Based on the ideas developed in the initial plan, Gills Creek Watershed Association received a grant from the Richland County Conservation Commission to complete a Master Plan for the Middle Gills Creek Watershed which extends from Kilbourne Road to Shop Road. Additional funding was provided by Edens. The final results of this project is a community endorsed Middle Watershed Plan with greenways, best management practices for handling stormwater, and identified stream restoration projects.

Please note that this project plan has been superseded by the Richland County Transportation Penny Gills Creek Greenway Section A project. Perhaps as the benefits of the Greenway A are realized, the expanded plan presented here can be implemented.

See the old plan which includes maps of the area...


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Send an email to greenway@gillscreekwatershed.org

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