West Columbia’s planned interactive park is part of a wave of growth washing over the city’s River District.
The one-of-a-kind park will feature musical events, art displays, artists booths and a farmer’s market. It also offers parking space for patrons of the area’s restaurants and users of Riverwalk.
The project is intended to provide intrinsic environmental, aesthetic, and recreation benefits to West Columbia, according to a press release in which the details of the park were announced.
“We want to extend the momentum for redevelopment from State Street to Meeting and Center streets,” said Tem Miles, who represents District 4 on West Columbia City Council. “We want to create an area where folks can come and interact with the art.”
The land where the park will be installed is on Meeting Street and connects to Center Street, where the Old Brookland City Hall building is. The City of West Columbia owns that building and the old jail beside it.
West Columbia Mayor Bobby Horton said the River District is a vibrant area and the interactive park just adds to the excitement.
“The acquisition of the property, with hospitality funds, allows us to expand the opportunities for art and parking,” Horton said. He also said the plan is to have connectivity to the interactive park with Center Street and the old Brookland City Hall building and jail. That property is expected to be developed, possibly soon.
West Columbia’s goal is to have the park and parking area open by the end of the year with all art pieces installed by spring.
Tara Greenwood, West Columbia’s Director of Grants and Special Projects said the call for qualified artists would begin in August.
“We will have a selection committee choose the finalists,” said Greenwood. The finalists will make proposals in October and the artist- or artists- will be picked in October. In November the creating of the art begins, Greenwood said. She said it is possible the art will be installed by April.
To assist in the funding of the park, the city received a Municipal Association of S.C. Hometown Economic Development Grant.
Greenwood said the park will include eight pieces of art. For more details, interested artists can go to the city’s: Link to call for interactive park artists
Miles said the moves with the old City Hall property, as it is developed, and with the interactive park, offer the chance to engage the public with the artists and the vendors at the proposed farmers’ market that will also be on the site.
The park is a part of the evolution in the River District.
In 2016, Artist Colleen Otte created Art on State. It’s behind the Terra restaurant, adjacent to the where the new park will be. Art on State is interactive art where subjects can stand inside a frame with a wall of colors behind them for photos. It is in an area where the blight of a dumpster once was. Artist BA Hohman painted the first mural that serves as the background for the picture. The mural art rotates throughout the year. Alicia Leeke’s mural is currently on display on the wall.
With the art at the interactive park, West Columbia is expanding its commitment to making the community more attractive to its residents and visitors alike.
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