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County council moves forward with 'Richland Renaissance' plan

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Columbia, S.C. (WACH) -- The plan to revitalize parts of Richland County was pushed to the next phase at the Richland County Council meeting on Tuesday.

The council is continuing to move forward with plans to move the Judicial Center to where county offices sit on Hampton Street, and to put county offices in some portions of the Columbia Place Mall. Council members say they are in discussion of contracts with several companies.

Some council members, however, say there have been some changes that were not anticipated or discussed in or since the initial voting of the plan.

Councilman Jim Manning says the original plan included the aforementioned offices, and that they knew at least a decade ago that something had to be done about the county courthouse.

But Manning and others say they found out the news only Tuesday that there would be a possible basketball complex in the southeast, and a baseball complex in the northeast.

"I would like for us to sit down and kinda do a bit of a reset and look at where it started, what information we actually have that we can bank on and move forward, and that we have a good solid financial plan with it," said Manning.

Supporters of the plans say it could bring much needed revenue to the area by way of tournaments, and that the basketball complex could be used for events like graduation services.

Norman Jackson, however, says he's concerned about the fiscal feasibility of some of the ventures, and agrees with Manning that more public discussion is needed on some portions of the plan.

"We have to be careful not to go over that figure or, if you go over that figure, [know] where the money is coming from," said Jackson. "That's why I say we have to have community meeting to get their input also, but we also have to be responsible, fiscally responsible in how we spend the money. and how we provide needed services."

The initial plan set aside $144 million dollars as a budget for the renaissance.

According to Norman, other parts of the plan in question is a possible transit system near the Dutch Square Mall and a hospital.

Some of the plan was pushed to be further discussed with the Renaissance Committee. Council members say that the project is set to be implemented within the next 2-3 years.

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