COLUMBIA, S.C. — A year and a half in the making, Richland County has put the final touches on the neighborhood plan for the Sandhills.
Brian Crooks, interim Planning Services Manager for Richland County, says, "Really what this is going to establish is the vision for the community."
The final piece of the plan was community engagement.
Through surveys, social media and neighborhood meetings, members of the community were able to talk about what they wanted for their community in the planning process.
The county's ReDiscover Sandhills project team held a virtual public meeting on Thursday night and asked for feedback about recreation, housing, business development, beautification, safety and transportation.
The proposal includes upgrades to intersections and sidewalks, walking paths, a community center and a dog park. Also included are more COMET bus stops, better lighting, cameras and 911 call box.
The planning area includes the Richland Northeast Industrial Park on Clemson Road, as well as historic businesses and residences at Two Notch and Spears Creek Church roads in Pontiac.
Cook says the idea is to create a neighborhood vibe, "Think things like coffee shops, restaurants."
Chef Richard Conklin, is taking over the old Panera restaurant and hopes to open his soul food restaurant in August called Esthers Soul Food Kitchen.
He hopes the proposal will help bring more people to the area.
"Its been a dream of mine to bring a different experience to the city of Columbia, " says Conklin, "this particular area is developing. They have a lot of new and exciting things coming."
"Coming from the pandemic, everybody is getting vaccinated, everybody is getting a little more comfortable... I think its the perfect timing," he said.
You can see the plan at here.