The year 2017 was monumental in West Columbia. The landmark “Brookland” Development broke ground and almost all of West Columbia’s flood-damaged Riverwalk was repaired and reopened. Several new businesses cut the ribbon, as West Columbia continued to be a magnet for economic growth and West Columbia’s credit rating was upgraded. The West Columbia Beautification Foundation also successfully introduced “A Taste of West Columbia” fundraiser.
Looking forward, West Columbia Mayor Bobby Horton said the city’s leaders plan to face the challenges of 2018 with the successes of 2017 as a motivating factor.
“We are very proud of all that was accomplished in 2017,” said Horton. ” And we expect 2018 to be just as fruitful. We look to the future with excitement and anticipation.”
To recap: The groundbreaking Ceremony was held in January for Brookland, the multi-million-dollar residential, commercial and retail development planned for four acres at State and Meeting streets in West Columbia.
At the groundbreaking, Horton said West Columbia was once named “Brookland” and we are “embracing Brookland again.” Matt Mundy, project developer, said Brookland will be a vibrant center for activity, that will attract more development to the area.
In February the first “A Taste of West Columbia” was held as a fundraiser for the West Columbia Beautification Foundation. More than 250 people attended the event and more than $10,000 was raised.
“We were overwhelmed with the response,” said Bill Mooneyhan, one of the event sponsors and a volunteer organizer. “We had a great turnout.”
In April, the ribbon was cut and the West Columbia Riverwalk was reopened after floods had washed out the Riverwalk boardwalk under the Gervais Street Bridge. Horton cut the ribbon to reintroduce the popular and scenic walking and running destination.
Also in April, the West Columbia Police Department’s Lt. Robert Sharpe was recognized by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) at a Lexington County County meeting. He was commended for his exceptional efforts in his community. West Columbia Police Chief Dennis Tyndall and Assistant Police Chief Scott Morrison were on hand at the meeting, to see Sharpe honored.
In June, Moody’s Investor Service assigned an Aa3 issuer rating to the City of West Columbia’s water and sewer enterprise system.
“The credit rating has a direct impact on the interest rate that an entity receives on its financing,” according to First Tryon Advisors, the city’s financial advisor. The rating indicates that the City is a very low credit risk. West Columbia City Administrator Brian Carter said it is the first time the city has received a credit opinion. And he is glad to see the excellent result.
Also in June, new information and education signs were installed on West Colombia’s Riverwalk. “The signs tell so much about our history,” said Anna Huffman, West Columbia’s public information officer. “It was great to have them replaced when Riverwalk was repaired after the flood. The signs are such an enhancement to the whole Riverwalk experience.”
In August, The West Columbia Amphitheater on the city’s Riverwalk was reopened to the public after the seating and stage areas were resurfaced to improve the experience for all visitors to the Riverwalk.
Also, the Aug. 21 Total Solar Eclipse attracted droves of visitors to South Carolina. It was the largest tourism event in the state’s history.
Kelli Ricard, City of West Columbia’s events manager, said as many as 4,000 came to West Columbia’s Riverwalk and Amphitheater for the city’s Solar Fest West celebration. Ricard said the city rated Solar Fest West as an extremely successful event.
In September, West Columbia Fire Chief Wyatt Coleman retired after 40 years, all with the WCFD. Chris Smith was named as his replacement.
Also in September, the West Columbia Beautification Foundation raised $25,550 at the Tribute for Trees event held at West Columbia City Hall. “We’re thrilled that this year’s event was even more successful than in years past,” said Foundation Chairwoman Melissa Sprouse Brown said.
The funds raised at the Tribute for Trees will be used for the continued beautification of Sunset Boulevard in the City of West Columbia with the planting of trees, shrubbery, and flowers.
In November, the City of West Columbia held the Fall Back Fest on State Street with live music, food and beverages. It was very well attended.
West Columbia City Councilman Tommy Parler ended his tenure on council. In December, the City of West Columbia presented one of its most well-attended Christmas Tree Lighting ceremonies at City Hall, and hosted, again, by beloved West Columbia resident Joe Pinner.
Some of the new Businesses in in 2017 West Columbia:
In January, the ribbon was cut on Insurance Advantage at 511 Meeting Street in West Columbia,
In April K9 Coature- a professional dog grooming center- held a Grand Opening and Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony at 626 Meeting Street, West Columbia.
In June, a ribbon cutting was held at the Cricket Wireless store at 1306 Charleston Highway West Columbia.
In June there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony for First Heritage Credit, at 2406-G Augusta Road, West Columbia.
In July Doc’s Furniture held it ribbon cutting at 1612 Airport Boulevard, in West Columbia.
In August, the Crafty Cottage Gift Boutique held its Grand Opening in August at 831 Meeting Street in West Columbia.
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