City News April 2021
City’s Parks and Recreation Department Announced Marshall Park Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Mayor Steve Benjamin, alongside City Council members, and the Parks & Recreation Department announced the grand opening of Marshall Park.

On Tuesday, March 30 the city’s Parks and Recreation Department celebrated new playground improvements as a part of the City of Columbia Master Plan. The project’s funding was provided by Wells Fargo’s Neighborhood Lift Grant in the amount of $100,000. The new improvements will accommodate more use of the park over time and will provide a positive impact for citizens of Columbia.
The park is located at 2905 Lincoln Street Columbia, SC 29201, and is open from dawn to dusk.
Marshall Park
Mayor Steve Benjamin
Assistant City Manager Henry Simons
Left to Right
Randy Davis, Director of Parks and Recreation; Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine; Mayor Steve Benjamin; Emily Burn, Earlewood Neighborhood President; Councilman Sam Davis; Henry Simons, Assistant City Manager.
City’s Parks and Recreation Department Announced Fairwold Park Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
 
On Tuesday, March 30, 2021, City Council members, alongside, the Parks & Recreation Department announced the grand opening of Fairwold Park.
 
This portion of the project would not be possible without funding provided through HUD’s (Community Development Block Grant program) in which the parks and recreation department was awarded $219,534. The department also received an additional $50,000 from Well Fargo’s Neighborhood Lift grant to help complete this project. Which gives a total investment of almost $270,000.
 
The park’s hours are from dawn to dusk and is located at 5924 Eddy Street Columbia, SC 29203.
Henry Simons, Assistant City Manager
Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine
Councilman Sam Davis
Left to Right
Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine; Gloria Saeed, City of Columbia Community Development Director; Audrey Quarles-Reed, Fairwold Acres/ Harlem Heights Neighborhood President; Councilman Sam Davis; Henry Simons, Assistant City Manager.
City of Columbia Collaborates with Richland School District One for 13th Annual Virtual Together We Can Read Initiative
The City of Columbia and Richland School District One kicked off their annual Together We Can Read in conjunction with March being National Reading Month. Due to COVID-19, our guest readers had the opportunity to read virtually to third-grade students.

This yearly partnership helps promote the importance of reading for the district’s third-grade students and exposes them to works of local authors and illustrators. City of Columbia elected officials, staff, and community leaders with Richland One students provide the readers a first-hand glimpse inside our schools.

This year featured South Carolina native and author Chris Singleton’s book, “Different – A Story About Loving Your Neighbor.” This is a beautiful book that teaches kids that differences—whether through race, nationality, gender, or more—are something to accept and celebrate.

Our Together We Can Read initiative targeted 1,700 third-graders in 29 different elementary schools across Columbia. 

Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine spearheaded our 'Together We Can Read' initiative 13 years ago. Since that time, over 20,000 third-grade students have benefited from the program.

Please click here to see additional photos of city staff who volunteered as guest readers.
Mayor Steve Benjamin
Councilman Sam Davis
Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine
Councilman Howard Duvall
Councilman Ed McDowell
Councilman Daniel Rickenmann
Councilman Will Brennan
City Manager Teresa Wilson
Burr & Forman Hosted “Women in Leadership” Webinar in Honor of Women’s History Month
City Manager Teresa Wilson
In honor of Women’s History Month, Burr & Forman hosted a virtual program on the topic of Women in Leadership on Wednesday, March 31, 2021. The firm’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Tamika Walters, moderated the diverse panel of female CEOs and General Counsel. The women on this panel included Lindsey Miller, Staci Pierce, Tara Plimpton and Teresa B. Wilson.

Lindsey Miller is the CEO and President of Battle Republic, a boxing-inspired, strength and conditioning gym, located in Homewood, Alabama. Prior to Battle Republic, Lindsey guided Zoes Kitchen through its exponential growth, helping lead the once “mom-and-pop” restaurant through its initial public offering as CFO in 2014. In 2018, Lindsey launched Mpire Concepts, a boutique bookkeeping and consulting firm for Alabama’s business community. Battle Republic just opened its second location in Birmingham earlier last year.

Staci Pierce is the CEO of Action. Her prior role with the company was as its General Counsel & Executive Vice President of Risk. Additionally, she also held an official role as Corporate Secretary. Prior to joining Action in 2015, Staci was a leading attorney at a large national law firm where her practice focused on corporate governance and financial services matters. Adept at proactively turning legal strategy into business action and partnering with stakeholders to achieve business goals, she is a strategic leader in the company.

Tara Plimpton serves as General Counsel for Regions Bank and is a member of the company’s Executive Leadership Team. She leads the company’s Legal, Government Affairs, and Corporate Governance departments. Prior to her time at Regions, Tara led an 18-year career at General Electric. At GE, she most recently served as Vice President and General Counsel for GE Global Operations. In that role, she led a team of over 450 global professionals running critical compliance, trade, IP, labor, and transactional support for GE globally. Prior to joining GE, Tara was the managing partner of a law firm and provided legal counsel to a variety of corporate clients in the manufacturing, agricultural, and tourism industries.

Teresa Wilson is the City Manager of Columbia, South Carolina. In this role, Teresa leads the executive team for South Carolina’s capital city, working diligently to address the needs of residents in the community, while also focusing on public safety and economic development initiatives. City Manager Wilson is a proven leader and has hands-on experience working with the business community to develop projects that will be catalysts for future economic growth.

This group of women shared their inspiring paths to leadership, including the obstacles they’ve overcome and their strategies for success. The panel shed light on the unique challenges that women face on the road to advancement, the importance of mentorship and sponsorship along the way, and recommendations on how to make the path to leadership more equitable for all.

About Burr & Forman LLP
For more than a century, Burr & Forman LLP’s experienced legal team has served clients at the intersection of business and government with local, national, and international interests in numerous industry and practice areas, ranging from commercial litigation and class actions to corporate transactions, including bankruptcy and restructurings. A Southeast regional firm with 360 attorneys and 19 offices in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee, Burr & Forman attorneys draw from a diverse range of resources to help clients achieve their goals and address their complex legal needs. For more information, visit the firm’s website at www.burr.com.


Click here to view City Manager Teresa Wilson's Women in Leadership Webinar highlights.
City of Columbia Bicyclist & Pedestrian Counts: Volunteer to Help Make the City of Columbia a Safer Place to Walk and Ride!
The City of Columbia is seeking volunteers to help conduct our routine Bicyclist & Pedestrian Counts throughout Columbia. By counting pedestrians and bicyclists, volunteers help to ensure that all of the City’s residents count: transit riders, pedestrians, and bicyclists are often not accounted for in traffic studies – the same traffic studies used to make important decisions about our City’s landscape. In counting, volunteers are also taking part in a national effort: the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Documentation Project. See More.

City’s Parks and Recreation Foundation Announces
Little Readers- Future Leaders Literacy Program
 
The City of Columbia’s Parks and Recreation Foundation received a grant funded by the Aflac Foundation ($9,000) and Lipscomb Foundation ($7,000) to create The Little Readers – Future Leaders Literacy Program. The program will improve literacy while making reading fun for youth, ages 4–11 (Grades K – 5), who live in the communities near Pinehurst and Lorick Park (29203 zip code), two low-income, under-resourced communities in Richland County. This City of Columbia Parks and Recreation program will inspire and boost reading levels by providing culturally diverse, age-appropriate children’s books to youth on a monthly basis. Reading logs will be used to track books read by program participants.
 
The primary objectives for the Little Readers – Future Leaders Literacy Program are:
 
1. By the end of the grant period, assist K – 5th grade children to improve their reading
proficiency.
2. Increase the number of books (including culturally diverse books) in the homes and hands of
program participants.
3. Demonstrated (and measurable) improvement in literacy skills for program participants by the
end of the grant period; and
4. Teach parent/guardians fun reading activities that will foster and encourage youth to read
regularly.
 
 
Potential Partners:
Richland School District One, Columbia Housing Authority, and Richland County Public Library
 
City Leaders along with Fred Monk, Chair of Parks and Recreation Foundation
City leaders, staff, and partners
City’s Parks and Recreation Department Announces Virtual Mentoring Program
 
The City of Columbia’s Parks and Recreation Department received a $20,000 grant from Truist Foundation, that will provide a Virtual Mentoring Program to serve 50 city of Columbia youths, ages 11-17 with the goals of increasing youth knowledge, skills, and understanding of:
 
(1) Self-Worth/Self-Esteem
(2) Healthy vs. Unhealthy Peer Relationships
(3) College/Career Readiness
(4) Financial Literacy/Money Management 101
(5) The Benefits of Nutrition/Regular Exercise
(6) Leadership 101
 
Mentors will conduct 24 bi-weekly virtual mentoring sessions. Each session is 1-hour, using Google meets. Each quarter, 12-14 youth will complete the program.
         
Partners: Richland School District One, Columbia Housing Authority
City leaders along with Truist Official Mike Brenan, SC Reginal President holding the Check that was presented to City of Columbia Parks and Recreation
Mayor Steve Benjamin giving his remarks and special thanks
CRFD Delivers Meals on Wheels

During the week of March 22nd members of the Columbia-Richland Fire Department were honored to assist Senior Resources Inc. with making ‘Meals on Wheels’ deliveries across the city.
The fire department joined volunteers and other organizations for ‘Community Champions Week’ by helping provide crucial meals for our home-bound citizens.

Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins was among the leaders of the department who rolled up their sleeves to make deliveries.
CRFD Assistant Chief Mickey Folsom loads Easter boxes for delivery into the back of his vehicle.
Clients for ‘Meals on Wheels’ not only received their hot meals during the week of March 22 but also a special Easter box.
CRFD Assistant Chief Mickey Folsom (left), Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins, and Recruiting Officer James Bostic arrive at Senior Resources Inc. to pick up ‘Meals on Wheels’ for delivery.
CRFD Recruiting Officer James Bostic, Assistant Chief Mickey Folsom, and Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins pose for a photo before beginning their ‘Meals on Wheels’ deliveries.
Columbia-Richland Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins takes questions from the media before beginning his ‘Meals on Wheels route.
CRFD Assistant Chief Mickey Folsom (left) and Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins making a ‘Meals on Wheels’ delivery off of West Beltline Boulevard in Columbia.
CRFD Assistant Chief Mickey Folsom (left) and Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins delivered ‘Meals on Wheels’ to 9 citizens on the morning of March 23rd.
CRFD Assistant Chief Christopher Kip making ‘Meals on Wheels deliveries on March 25th.
Parking Services Introduces Contact-Less Payment to Gated Facilities
 
Parking Services is excited to introduce contact-less payment technology in our gated facilities. Starting March 2021, all Pay-in-Lane kiosks will now be equipped with NFC-enabled readers.
 
When a parker pulls up to the exit kiosk, they’ll insert their ticket and be prompted to pay with a credit card. At that point, they can either swipe a traditional card or utilize double tap-to-pay by holding their phone next to the reader to process a payment with Apple Pay or Google Pay. These emerging payment methods are a choice favorite among consumers and offers a contactless payment method that doesn’t require downloading an app or following a link.
 
The NFC readers act as a wave-activated sensor and is a safe, convenient way to add a touchless option. This eliminates the need for parkers to touch and tap screens when they pull up to exit Pay-in-Lane kiosks. The City of Columbia is working to simplify the parking process by eliminating the need for manual payment and moving towards becoming a Smart City!
 
Note: NFC stands for Near Field Communication
Applications Are Open for the 2021 Dream Big Awards
Big dreams deserve big rewards and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is proud to recognize the very best in American small business. 
The Dream Big Awards celebrate the success of small businesses and honor their contributions to the growth and diversity of the U.S. economy. The awards recognize small businesses that exemplify innovation, entrepreneurship, and individual initiative. 
Small businesses may apply for up to two Business Achievement Award Categories, and every business entered will be considered for the 2021 Dream Big Small Business of the Year, a $25,000 cash prize! APPLY NOW  
 
Application Deadline: Friday, July 16, 2021
  
 
Award Categories

In addition to the Dream Big Small Business of the Year, awards will be given in eight different Business Achievement Award categories: 
·        Community Support and Leadership Award
·        Emerging Business Achievement Award
·        Green/Sustainable Business Achievement Award
·        Minority-Owned Business Achievement Award 
·        Woman-Owned Business Achievement Award
·        LGBTQ-Owned Business Achievement Award
·        Veteran-Owned Business Achievement Award
·        Young Entrepreneur Achievement Award
 
Know a Business Who Should Apply?

Calling all chambers of commerce and trade groups! Is there a small business in your community or network that would be a great fit for the U.S. Chamber Dream Big Awards? Be sure to refer them here to encourage their participation!  
 
 
 
 
Want more information? Visit our website at www.uschamber.com/dreambig 
Questions? E-mail us at dreambig@uschamber.com
Parks and Recreation Department moves into Phase IV and V Re-opening Plan Effective May 3, 2021
 
 In an effort to provide citizens with directions regarding re-opening, the City of Columbia's Parks and Recreation Department has announced that they will re-open their parks and amenities on May 3, 2021. The following outlines the plan to re-open parks and amenities for citizens to enjoy with restrictions. 
 
 
Community Centers: Greenview Park, Hyatt Park, Lorick Park, Pinehurst Park, ML King Park, Woodland Park, and Katheryn Bellfield Center
                                                  
  • Hours of Operations:  Monday – Thursday; 10am-9pm: Friday close at 8pm
            Saturday: 10am-6pm
                                          Sunday:  2pm-7pm (MLK Park and Hyatt Park only)
 
Neighborhood Centers:  St. Anna’s Park, Melrose Park, Emily Douglas Park, Heathwood Park, Hampton Park, S. Edisto Park, Sims Park, and Busby
 
  • Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday 10 am- 6 pm
 
Drew Wellness Center: Re-Opens May 3, 2021
  • Members to bring their own towel until further notice.
  • No individual swim lessons.
  • Instructor fitness classes begin by May 17, 2021.
 
 
Art Center: 
 
  • Hours of Operation: Monday - Thursday 9am-9pm
         Friday 9am -5pm
         Saturday 10am - 5pm
 
Youth Baseball: Modified youth baseball season to begin early May
 
Ages-5 & 6 T-Ball
Ages- 7 & 8 Coaches Pitch
Clinics: Pitching mechanics, Batting, Fielding and Throwing
Ages 9 & 10
Ages 11 & 12
 
Youth and Adult Summer Basketball leagues: Registration begins mid-April. League play starts the first week in June for youth and adults.
 
For all athletics information, please contact 803-563-4300 or 803-545-3113
 
 
Facility Reservation: Facility reservations to go into effect May 3, 2021. Modified occupancy will be followed according to Fire Marshall.
 
Summer Camp: Summer Camp will be postponed in the best interest of the health and safety of our children at this time.
 
Pool Season: All outdoor pools open Memorial Day weekend. (May 29, 2021)
  • Drew Splash Pad, Maxcy Gregg Pool, and Greenview Pool
  • No individual swim lessons  
 
 
Summer Concerts: Summer Concerts and Movies in the Park postponed until further notice in the best interest of the health and safety of the public.
                        
Specialty Camps: Golf Center and Columbia Tennis Center will remain as scheduled
 
Greenways:   Remain open as already scheduled
 
Parks and Recreation guidelines to facilities re-opening:
 
Required to wear masks when interacting with the City of Columbia Parks & Recreations staff
Maintain Social Distancing of 6ft. at all times
Citizen visitation to park facilities will be limited based on our ability to maintain social distancing requirements
Park staff reserves the right to disband gatherings and/or solicit support from local law enforcement as needed
Columbia Water Celebrates Another Meter Milestone

The City of Columbia reaches 100,000 water meter installations with the new AMI Project.
 
Columbia, SC – Columbia Water has announced the installation of its 100,000th new meter in March of 2021, a huge milestone in the much anticipated automated meter infrastructure (AMI) project. Columbia Water customers with newly installed meters have access to the free digital EYE ON WATER app which provides real-time updates on water usage and potential leaks. The app can be found at https://columbiascwater.eyeonwater.com/signin.
 
“The 100,000-meter benchmark is a great indicator that our project is working to serve the needs of our customers,” noted Assistant City Manager Clint Shealy. “We strongly encourage our customers to download the app and learn about their water usage. It is an amazing tool to help manage water usage.”
 
“AMI aligns with the City’s goals to provide high-quality municipal services,” continued Shealy. “Our customers come first, and through this project, we continue to strive to offer best in class services.”
 
AMI began to address customer concerns about effective billing practices with municipal water services. The technology utilizes cell towers to transmit information from a digital water meter to billing centers. New meter installations for all 150,000 metered accounts are expected to be complete in March 2022.
 
Columbia Water customers can find out when AMI meters will be available in their neighborhood and learn more about the AMI project at www.columbiascwater.net/meterupgrade. For general Columbia Water updates, be sure to follow @ColumbiaSCWater on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
 
Columbia Water is the drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater utility owned and operated by the City of Columbia, SC. For more than one hundred years, the City’s award-winning water system has been maintained by a team of qualified professionals that work year-round to deliver safe and dependable water to its customers.
 
Visit www.columbiascwater.net to learn more about Columbia Water and its programs.
City of Columbia Receives Senior Resources’ Emergency Response Partnership Award
 
In light of the upcoming one-year anniversary of COVID-19, Senior Resources awarded the City of Columbia with their Emergency Response Partnership Award. This award recognizes individuals and groups who provide significant support to an emergency, which greatly affects Senior Resources’ clients and operations.
 
Through the City of Columbia’s Resilient Columbia: Economic Stability Plan, thousands of meals were provided to seniors in the community. Last March, when food-insecurity calls increased over 500%, leadership, support, and a quick partnership between the City of Columbia and Senior Resources resulted in senior hunger, isolation, and fear of contracting the virus were combatted and overcome.
 
Through their Emergency Senior Nutrition Program. Senior Resources served 364,00 meals to food-insecure seniors across South Carolina from March 2020 to August 2020. By the end of 2020, Senior Resources recorded a 233% increase in meals served over the previous year, resulting in 524,000 total meals served. 
City of Columbia Safety Award Recipient for the Fourth Consecutive Year from The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce Safety Award Program 
The City of Columbia has once again qualified for the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce 2021 Safety Awards - Annual Commendation of Excellence Award. The program is designed to recognize organizations and their employees who have had a commendable Lost Workday Case Rate during the 2020 calendar year. This means that departments and/or divisions qualify for the award if their respective areas have had No Lost Time Cases, or from being absent from work as the result of a work related injury. This information is retrieved from the department or division’s documented OSHA 300 Log Lost Time case column. To ensure that the City of Columbia successfully meets the standards for these awards, the city measures their employee’s accident rates or number of injuries in conjunction with the number of hours worked by our employees based on the record keeping of our OSHA 300 Log per department or division. This is both a federal and state mandatory requirement.
 “Anything that you focus on is where all of your energy will flow to,” said Mr. Demetrius Rumph, Director of Safety and Risk Management. “When you have a safety focus, then you will have a safety flow. These awards go to show the extent our employees went in remaining vigilant during this past year, working safely day in and day out while the unknown and unseen enemy, the virus, changed our everyday lives.”
These safety awards along with the improvements to safety and risk management processes reflect extremely positively on our city. They promote the City of Columbia’s rich and abundant cultures, values and morale’s, as well as team cohesiveness, as they relate to the safety and risk management within the multiple city departments. Being able to be recognized for exemplary safety performance is also a great way to recognize the team members within the city who are committed to the city’s values and intended business of direction in referencing to our vision/mission.
“I truly thank our employees and organization for being able to work so hard day in and day out as a public service and I’m very proud of their safety accomplishment,” Mr. Rumph said. “Everyone played a part in this. It’s not a me game, it’s a we game.”
This is the fourth consecutive year that the City of Columbia has qualified for multiple awards for safety excellence in multiple departments/divisions.
Left to right
Director of Safety and Risk Management, H. Demetrius Rumph and Safety Compliance Manager, Wateka Y. Smith
COVID-19 INFORMATION
City Council Extends Mask/Face Coverings and Temporary Suspension of Meetings
 
In the interest of public health, the Columbia City Council voted to extend an emergency ordinance and amend certain emergency ordinances related to COVID-19 during their virtual City Council meeting on Tuesday, March 16, 2021. See More.
COVID-19 Vaccination Information


In efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19, vaccine locations have been set-up across Columbia to those 16 and older who are looking to receive vaccination.

For more information, about COVID-19 vaccination dates, times and locations please visit our Resilient Columbia microsite. https://resilient.columbiasc.gov/
City Video Hub
WestLawn Groundbreaking Press Conference
Office of Business Opportunities: What You Need to Know to Access the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) by the Office of Business Opportunities (OBO)
Public Safety Message: Wearing Double Masks
Energy 101: Keeping the Lights On by the Climate Protection Action Campaign (CPAC)
Truist Foundation Awarding Grant Parks & Recreation
Lipscomb and Athletic Grant Announcement Press Conference
Columbia Water Resiliency Update
Fairwold Park Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Live Stream
Marshall Park Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Live Stream
Board of Zoning Appeals | April 1, 2021
Planning Commission | April 5, 2021
City Council Meeting | April 6, 2021
City Manager Teresa Wilson | Women in Leadership Webinar Highlights
Virtual Community Development Week
*The photos featured in the newsletter header are the winning entries of the #LoveColumbiaSC photo challenge. The winning photos were taken by:
Brian Ward, top left
Sylvie Smith, bottom left
William Brown, top right
Jeffery O'Shields, bottom right

Congratulations to all!