Columbia's 'State Front Porch' Idea Met With Opposition

The City of Columbia has received a grant to give the State House grounds a "front porch" feeling by installing umbrellas, ping pong tables, rocking chairs and the like.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The City of Columbia received a grant from the Knight Foundation for $195,000 to create a “State Front Porch” atmosphere at the State House.

According to the foundation’s website the plans would “encourage residents to connect with their government by reimagining the State House as a front porch for all.”

However, the idea is being met with opposition.
 
"It doesn't belong to the city of Columbia, it belongs to the entire state of South Carolina,” says Senator Katrina Shealy, R-Lexington County.

Senator Shealy helped start a petition, encouraging the city to remove their proposal.

She says the grant money they received could go to parks around the city, like Finlay Park.

"Let's take some money and fix that and have those beach chairs and hammocks, and corn hole games, big checker boards and let's put that over there, something that actually belongs to the city of Columbia,” says Senator Shealy.

In a letter to Governor Henry McMaster, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin asked for his support with the project.

“The State’s Front Porch project will be perfectly positioned to aid us in unifying residents, elected officials and visitors in a unique and meaningful way,” wrote Mayor Benjamin.

The State Department of Administration responded to the letter saying:

"Admin does not believe that these proposed alterations can be made while maintaining the appropriate decorum, aesthetic or level of dignity required for the grounds. Such a drastic transformation or alteration would require legislative action."

The state department of administration says the city would need legislative approval before the project could move forward.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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