Richland Co. to Waive Gonzales Garden Demolition Fees

County council to wave demolition fees for Gonzales Gardens

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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The Gonzales Gardens in Columbia could be one step closer to closing as Richland County Council discussed helping the Housing Authority with demolition fees.
  
"The residents who live in that housing complex have been for years looking to move," says Fred Easley, president of the Melrose Heights housing association. Easley and Marvin Heller of the Lyon Street neighborhood both spoke out about the impact the Gonzales Gardens has had on their surrounding neighborhoods.

"It's time that our local government look at the people who are affected by what's going on in Gonzales Gardens," says Heller.

At the beginning of the year the Columbia Housing Authority asked Columbia City Council to help pay for the tear down of one of the nations oldest housing complexes. 

Now Richland County is lending a helping hand when it it comes to demolition.

"One of the things that has been proposed is waiving the tipping fee so when the demolition is done obviously it would cost to put that in the landfill," says Seth Rose of the Richland County Council. "The county owns a landfill and there's been a creative idea floated where we would forgive the fees to go into the landfill."

If the fees aren't waived that could cost the City of Columbia nearly $500,000 for 27,000 tons of debris. Currently the city is looking forward to fund the multi-million dollar project.

Councilman Rose says he believes this redevelopment project could improve property values and increase economic development not only in the city, but the county as well.
  
"I think this is something that can really revitalize this area."

Now County Council is waiting to hear back from the City of Columbia with a written agreement before they officially move forward with approving those fees.

They are expected to hear back from them by their meeting on February 16th.


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