West Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Community members in the Mill Village of West Columbia gathered at Carraway Park Saturday to raise awareness and petition against the demolition of homes in the neighborhood.
"Any time you're going to take out a whole block of homes in a residential area, it's going to be a problem," said Alison Moons, a Mill Village resident who has been on the forefront of the movement against the demolition.
That's why a band sang songs in the era of when the homes were built, signs were drawn, and a petition clipboard went around Carraway Park that sits in the middle of the neighborhood on Saturday.
"Today we're just trying to raise awareness, a lot of people in the neighborhood don't even know about these plans," Moons said.
The plans are to demolish five homes in the historic neighborhood to be used as parking space, including the home Tevfik Vatansever leases.
Vatansever says it's the little things that makes living in the Mill Village so unique, like a small road he can access from his backyard.
"This road you don't see from the main road, it's basically for the residents," Vatansever said, "and you can see kids riding their bikes and people walking their dogs."
The paint chipped windows and ivy creeping up his yellow house is character.
"It's life," Vatansever said.
"This is our state's history, the people that built these homes built our entire city," Moons said. "So to tear them down for not even a specific number of parking lots is demeaning."
News19 spoke with West Columbia City Councilman Tem Miles who says the city wants to enhance and improve parking in the city, and that this will greatly improve accessibility to the riverwalk. He also stressed that there are 123 homes in the Mill Village and only five of them will be demolished.
Mill Village community leaders are looking for artists and community members to help document the historical homes. For more information, you can call Victoria Cartier at 561-494-5250.