Renewing North Main Street

Friday's ribbon cutting celebrated the revitalization of North Main Street.

Traveling down North Main Street just got a little easier, thanks to a multi-million dollar revitalization project. Now local businesses and city leaders hope the changes will drive-in an economic boost to the area.

"There were times I would serve two or three people a day because it was such a hastle getting into the place," said business owner Kabaka Khurhu.

After years of construction, Phase One of the North Main Street road repair is complete. This includes eight blocks from Elmwood Avenue stretching past Sunset Boulevard.

The renewal process has been a long time in the making for local business owners like Kabaka Khurhu.

"For three years it seemed like the highway was under construction," said Khurhu. "And it seems like they were parked right in front of my front door."

Now Khurhu is happy customers are once again returning. Congressman James Clyburn spearheaded the effort to revitalize an area he considered to be on life support.

"All the way up to Fairfield Road, it's going to look like this," said Clyburn. "And every time we strike out to do it, somebody's going to criticize it and there's going to be some controversy. But that's no reason for us not to do what's in the best interest of this community."

"Progress is slow, but progress is always good," said Columbia City Councilman Sam Davis. "Progress that benefits everyone is something we all strive for."

Councilman Davis, along with other city leaders hope the investment breeds success for people like Khurhu.

The business owner says better and brighter days are ahead.

"I needed to ride the storm out until the weather got clearer," said Khurhu. "There's no power in frustration."

Business owners and city leaders are hopeful the massive makeover will pave the way for more economic development throughout the community.

On Friday, the ribbon cutting officially reopened one of the city's main corridors.

The second phase of the North Main Street project will affect Fairfield Road to Fuller Avenue.