After Two Years, All of West Columbia Riverwalk Reopens

One of the most popular places in the Midlands to take a stroll has had parts of the walkway closed for nearly two years. News 19's Nic Jones explains how rebuilding has brought life back to the West Columbia spot

West Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The West Columbia Riverwalk, one of the most popular spots in the Midlands to take a stroll, has now reopened up all portions of the walkway.

The October Floods of 2015 and Hurricane Matthew unleashed its wrath on the West Columbia Riverwalk area and the damage took its toll and left people with limited places to walk.

With construction crews on site, it made things difficult to get around for Sandra Bright and Trammel Haney.

"A lot of times they would take out the parking lot. So I would have to park somewhere else to park to even come down here. You were stopped by that bridge back there so you couldn't see over here," said Bright.

“It was really limited where you could go and what you could do out here," explained Haney.

They both loved going to the spot to walk around, play Pokemon Go, and to enjoy the scenery but the obstacles were getting in the way.

Anna Huffman with the city of West Columbia says it was important to repair the popular walking spot.

"The Riverwalk is our jewel to the city. If it's closed, we hear about it. We know that people love to be hear. We constantly get tagged on Instagram with beautiful photos," explained Huffman.

When Mother Nature impacted the West Columbia area, it took out the bridge on the walkway under the Gervais Street bridge. There was also erosion issues that took out pieces of land along the walkway.

The City of West Columbia applied for FEMA assistance to help get the scenic route reopened.

They received two different contractors for the project to handle both the erosion and bridge construction.

"It's taken two years for it to be reopened and we're just excited it will be able to be used now by all the citizens and visitors of West Columbia," said Huffman.

With all of the Riverwalk being reopened, that makes Columbia resident Carolyn Schanen and her two dogs happy campers.

"My neighbor mentioned that it was opened up and I came over to check it out and they loved it so much. I said this morning we started for a walk and said lets go do something special," explained Schanen.

With the spot being popular for dog walking, she might need to bring something extra she comes back to West Columbia.

"Having the water is an extra special piece. I wish I brought some towels," laughed Schanen.

The amphitheater that was closed for upgrades has now also been reopened as well.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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