Progress of Finlay Park Renovation

AS WE SPEAK OF FINLEY PARK.....IT'S BEEN NEARLY A YEAR since a Colorado-based designer released plans to upgrade the place. But - since those changes were announced - nothing has really taken shape

Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- It's been nearly a year since a Colorado-based designer released plans to upgrade Finlay Park. But, since those plans were announced, nothing has really taken shape.

"I used to come here a lot, but now, it's just when they have the Movies in the Park," said Nytasha Glenn-Bray.

Glenn-Bray said she doesn't bring her children to Finlay Park often because there are no playgrounds for them to enjoy and there's too much homelessness.

"You have some people out here, staring at kids, and I'm not too fond of that. It makes you a little paranoid," she said.

Last August, a designer from Citivas: Landscape Architecture Firm presented plans to restore the park to its former glory. The plans included a new multi-purpose building, a splash pad and rejuvenating the infamous fountain. The project would cost more than $20 million -- but one year later.

"Not much really is going on with Fnlay Park, other than we have decided that the $20 million project was too much for the park at this time," said Councilman Howard Duvall.

Councilman Duvall said the city is looking to spend $10 million on the project.

"We need to shore up the fountain and the walls. We need to make sure it's safe," he said.

Duvall said he doesn't know why the design firm has not come back with an alternate, more affordable, plan.

"I need direction. That's the simple way to put it," said Mark Johnson, the designer.

According to Johnson, he has not been contacted by the city to make a plan that will cost $10 million.

"If the mayor called me up and said, 'Show us what we can do for $10 million', we can do that, but we just haven't been given that request," said Johnson.

Johnson said it's common for them to design a plan, but the city takes a few years before they're able to prioritize the funding.

If the renovations happen, Duvall hopes it becomes a destination spot for Columbia.

"It'll be a place you can go without the concerns. It'll just live up to the dream of Kirk Finlay who envisioned that park many years ago."

Duvall said they are looking at different funding sources to come up with  the $10 million.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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