Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A piece of property at the 3700 block of North Main Street in Columbia is now the center of controversy for residents and business owners in the area.
"We need places people can walk to eat, walk to pay bills and walk to shop, which is where it once was," said Tommy Burkett, President of the North Columbia Business Association.
Tommy Burkett has lived in the Eau Claire community for 69 years and says his close ties to the area has him concerned about a proposed housing development for assisted income residents.
"They have a proposal to build tax credit housing which is a H-U-D project and the reason retail can't go on it is because H-U-D won't allow it," said Burkett.
Burkett says the Empowerment Zone, a government body that works in urban and rural development, owns the land and complains they are not sticking to the master plan which included retail and residential properties on the land. Burkett says a Greenville company is interested in purchasing the property and turning it into housing for assisted income residents.
"In defense of the Empowerment Zone, I don't think it is entirely their idea to do housing, but i think people approached them about buying the housing and their way out is to sell the property."
Columbia City Manager, Teresa Wilson, tells News19 she is aware of the concern at that property but cannot speak to the issue at this time. She says there will be a public work session on Tuesday to discuss the potential project.