From April 7-9, Richland County hosted a series of Community Conversations at various locations to gather citizen ideas, concerns, and hopes about future growth. In a casual, small-group setting, participants identified and discussed places that should be protected from growth, and how and where growth should occur within the County.
The objectives of the Community Conversations were:
- To build awareness of the planning effort
- To offer a meaningful opportunity to provide input for the county’s future growth framework
- To bring community members together to share common ground ideas and learn from each other’s unique community perspectives
What we learned
Small Group Exercise Part 1: What do we protect?
Small Group Exercise Groups of participants seated together at tables discussed ideas and thoughts in response to the question: “What do we protect?” This question was translated to mean not only protection of undeveloped or naturally sensitive lands, but also development or areas of the community that members would like to see protected from change.
- Gills Creek and Broad River protection and interest in environmentally sensitive development that provides access
- Waterways, creeks, wetlands, and other water resource areas
- Maintain permanently protected areas (Congaree NP, Harbison SF, Sesquicentennial SP, Cooks Mountain)
- Military installations
- Rural landscapes
- Unique urban places
Small Group Exercise Part 2: How should we distribute future growth?
For part 2, the small groups discussed ideas and thoughts in response to the question: “How should we distribute future growth?” Participants were asked to jot down their preferences for they generally would like future growth to be dispersed in the county, as a percentage of total growth. The three conceptual locations for growth included:
- Greenfield Development – occurs at the edge of an urban area or in rural areas where there may not be development or available infrastructure to support development.
- Redevelopment – modifies or replaces existing development, and perhaps, street configurations.
- Infill Development – occurs on undeveloped land in areas surrounded by development and is likely served by existing infrastructure.
Generally, future growth should occur:
- 50% redevelopment
- 25% greenfield
- 25% infill development
Specific areas where future growth occur:
- Older commercial corridors
- Aging and blighted neighborhoods