City News
July 2020




 
Mayor Steve Benjamin and Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg Co-Chair National Pandemic Resilience Working Group to Develop Strategies for States & Local Municipalities to Contain Spread of COVID-19
 
The Pandemic Resilience Working Group for America’s Mayors, Sponsored by the
COVID-19 Study Group at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University
released a national strategic plan to test, trace and isolate COVID-19 infections
with a pandemic goal of attaining near zero new case levels.
 
To help cut through the noise and sometimes conflicting advice regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, and to assist states and municipalities with implementing best strategies to localize efforts to attain near zero levels of viral spread, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg co-chair the Pandemic Resilience Working Group for America’s Mayors, organized by the COVID-19 Study Group at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.
 
The effort included contributing to the COVID-19 suppression work of a network of national research, policy and public health experts convened by Harvard’s Global Health Institute and Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, which has launched a Key Metrics For COVID Suppression framework that provides clear, accessible guidance to policy makers and the public on how to target and suppress COVID-19 more effectively across the nation.
 
“Coronavirus suppression methods through testing, tracing and supported isolation efforts are not one size fits all. Different metro areas and communities have different levels of COVID prevalence and thus different testing and tracing needs,” said Danielle Allen, Director of Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. “As co-chair of the nation-wide Pandemic Resilience Mayors Working Group, the insight of Mayor Benjamin and other mayors have been crucial in crafting a national coronavirus response strategy based on local needs."
 
The new COVID suppression framework has brought clarity to metrics that help communities determine the severity of the outbreak they are responding to. A new color-coded COVID Risk Level map shows if a county or state is categorized at green, yellow, orange or red risk levels, based on their number of new daily cases. The framework then delivers broad guidance on the intensity of control efforts needed based on these localized COVID risk levels. It offers key performance indicators for testing and contact tracing across all risk levels, as a backbone for specific suppression efforts.
“As co-chair of this national pandemic suppression effort, I have access to the results-driven pandemic response insights of mayors from across the country, which then informs our efforts to contain the viral spread across the Midlands,” said Mayor Steve Benjamin. “Mayors across the country know the road to pandemic recovery runs straight through our American cities. Our nationwide efforts show there is no red way or blue way to defeat the #COVID19 pandemic in our country—only red, white & blue as an encompassing American effort.”
The framework also allows for a breadth of options for what to do beyond TTSI (testing, tracing and supported isolation) when jurisdictions are at yellow and orange levels. Public officials need to make strategic decisions suitable to their context. Once a community reaches the red risk level, stay-at-home orders become necessary again. The framework also draws attention to the need to focus on suppression at every risk level.
City Released Mask Ordinance FAQs

The mask ordinance was passed by City Council on Tuesday June 23, 2020 and went into effect Friday, June 26.

In an effort to provide information about the ordinance to citizens and visitors to the City of Columbia, a list of frequently asked questions has been developed.

To review the full mask ordinance please use the link below.
The City of Columbia and Parking Services Announce that Restaurant Takeout Only 15-minute Limited Parking Has Been Extended until August 1

In partnership with all businesses who are open – in specific capacities such as limited outdoor/indoor seating, curbside pickup, take out/to go, online, and phone ordering, Parking Services has designated and placed red bagged meters that display 15 minute limited parking for Restaurant Takeout Only throughout Columbia business districts to facilitate the ease of quick parking for patrons to access. 
Design/Development Review Commission | Thursday, July 9, 2020
 
In the interest of public health and as authorized by City Council Ordinance 2020-032, the City of Columbia Design/Development Commission will conduct a virtual meeting using video conferencing technology on Thursday, July 9th, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. Members of the Board will have the ability to remotely participate in voting and operational procedures via telephone or other means of electronic communication. 
 
Accordingly, members of the public and/or media who want to observe the meetings may do so remotely by: 
 
a. Watch: The public may stream the meetings through CityTV accessed at https://www.youtube.com/user/ColumbiaSCGovernment
b. Email: The public may submit letters and statements via email to cocboardmeeting@columbiasc.gov leading up to and/or during the meeting as this account will be monitored during the meetings. 
c. Phone: The public may participate via phone. You may call: 855-925-2801 . The meeting code: 9310 .
Those participating by phone will receive three options on how to participate:
• (star one) *1 will allow you to listen
• (star two) *2 will allow you to record a voice mail message that will be read into the record.
• (star three) *3 will allow a participant to be placed in a queue, so they may speak live when prompted. 
d. Virtual participation via the web: The public may join the virtual meeting on the web at https://publicinput.com/COCDDRC-June2020
 
As this is an ever-evolving situation, please continue to monitor www.columbiasc.gov for additional information.
 
Review of applications prior to release of the final hyperlinked agenda can be requested by calling 803.545.3333 or by email to amy.moore@columbiasc.gov .
 
For additional information please visit our website at www.columbiasc.net/planning-boards-commissions .
  Millwood Avenue Resurfacing Project Underway
 
In mid-2019, SCDOT approached the City of Columbia with a partnership opportunity to improve safety along Millwood Avenue for all users. Staff of both agencies worked together to develop an alternative striping plan to accompany the resurfacing project. The alternative striping plan presented to the public included adding turn lanes, bike lanes and other safety improvements.
 
May 2020 was Phase One of the Millwood Avenue Resurfacing began with selective repairs, starting at Gervais Street, and continuing southwest towards Gladden Street. Phase Two will occur in the future from Gladden Street to Devine Street.
 
The planned improvements created a more effective, standardized lane width throughout the corridor. The proposed lane  configuration does not does not reduce the number of vehicular travel lanes and no changes to the overall width of the road are proposed.
 
With the above noted changes bike lanes will be provided from Gervais to Devine over the course of two phases. No loss of on-street parking will occur, except for two spaces near the intersection of Millwood and Tree to provide safety improvements at the transit stop and create better sight distances.
 
Currently, the safety improvements and paving of Millwood Ave is on schedule for this paving season with an anticipated completion for phase one around September 30, 2020.

City Distributes Free Masks to Citizens
#MaskUpColumbia

The City of Columbia has provided masks to citizens at several locations throughout the City, while supplies last.

Businesses are responsible for providing masks to their employees, and/or customers and clients if they choose. Issuance of masks are available to those considered to be at high risk based on CDC guidance and those in vulnerable populations within the City limits.

Citizens will be able to receive up to two masks per person or five masks per family. Masks will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at one of the designated City of Columbia distribution sites. For information on locations and times of operation please visit the Resilient Columbia microsite at https://resilient.columbiasc.gov

Masks are available while supplies last. Citizens that have the ability to purchase their own masks are encouraged to do so. Citizens can make their own masks by following the CDC’s guidance on making cloth face coverings and can find additional information by visiting the following CDC website.


The distribution of masks will begin on Monday, June 29, 2020 and will end on Friday, July 10, 2020. Please review below the identified sites, dates and times for the mask distribution schedule.

Identified Sites:  Busby Street Community Center
                            1735 Busby Street
                            
                            Hampton Park Neighborhood Center
                            1117 Brandon Avenue

                            S. Edisto Neighborhood Center
                            1914 Wiley Street

                            Earlewood Community Center
                            1113 Recreation Drive


Distribution Schedule


July 8, 2020
WEDNESDAY
         Busby Street Community Center         9:00 am – 12:00 pm
         Hampton Park Neighborhood Center   9:00 am – 12:00 pm
         S. Edisto Neighborhood Center           1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
         Earlewood Community Center            1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

July 10, 2020
FRIDAY
         Busby Street Community Center         9:00 am – 12:00 pm
         Hampton Park Neighborhood Center   9:00 am – 12:00 pm
         S. Edisto Neighborhood Center           1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
         Earlewood Community Center            1:00 pm – 4:00 pm
City of Columbia launched Resilient Columbia Pledge Challenge for Small Business Owners
 
The City of Columbia has launched a Resilient Columbia pledge challenge for small business owners as businesses in the City continue to open.
 
We encourage citizens to visit our website in order to view the pledge map to see the list of businesses that have taken the pledge.
 
By taking the pledge, a business declares that it is taking steps based upon guidance from the CDC and DHEC to:
 
• Monitor the health of their employees
• Clean high touch areas frequently
• Encourage the use of face coverings and promote regular hand washing
• Limit the number of people, both inside our building and in our outdoor spaces (if applicable)
• Promote social distancing at all times to include the public right of way adjacent to our business
 
While we encourage all businesses to take the pledge, this pledge is a good faith effort to ensure business owners and patrons remain safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
For more information on the pledge and the pledge map, please visit the “Business” tab on https://resilient.columbiasc.gov/

City of Columbia Launched Channels on Roku and Amazon Fire TV
 
In an effort to provide more access to City of Columbia information, the City of Columbia’s Public Relations, Media & Marketing Department launched channels on Roku and Amazon Fire TV . As video viewership continues to trend towards streaming devices and on-demand applications, the City of Columbia wants to ensure citizens have the ability to gain access to essential information through streaming services.
 
On both Roku and Amazon Fire TV , audiences are able to watch video content that includes: city news, city events, city information, Columbia City Council meetings and other public meetings, public service announcements, and emergency information (including the City of Columbia’s response to COVID-19).
 
To access the City of Columbia channel on Roku or Amazon Fire TV, please follow these simple steps:
 
Roku
 
1.        At the “Home” Screen, scroll down and click the “ Search ” tab
2.        Type in “ City of Columbia SC
3.        In the results, click the icon that reads “ City of Columbia SC
4.        You can then click “ Add channel ” to save it to your “Home” screen or click “ Go to channel ” to start viewing the channel.
 
Amazon Fire TV
 
1.        At the “Home” Screen, scroll over and click the “ Search ” bar
2.        Type in “ City of Columbia SC
3.        In the results, click the icon that reads “ City of Columbia SC ” under Apps & Games.
4.        Click “ Get-Free to download ” to add the channel to Amazon Fire TV.
5.        Once installed, you can now open the app or access through “ Your Apps & Channels ” on the “Home” screen.
 
In additions to the new streaming channels on Roku and Amazon Fire TV, the public can view City of Columbia video content on our public access channel on Spectrum ( CityTV, Channel 1301 ) and our YouTube site ( www.YouTube.com/ColumbiaSCGovernment ).
 
The public is encouraged to stay connected to the City of Columbia through our social media platforms; Facebook ( @CityofColumbia ), Twitter ( @CityofColumbia ) and Instagram ( @WeAreColumbia ).
 
For additional information, please visit our website at www.ColumbiaSC.gov .

City of Columbia developed Microsite and Communications Tools to Assist Small Businesses during COVID-19 Pandemic
 
The City of Columbia Public Relations, Media and Marketing Department announced the new release of our microsite, Resilient Columbia.
 
Under the direction of the Mayor, City Council and the City Manager, staff in multiple City departments are working with local businesses to ensure that information on public safety and public health are a priority as our City leadership opens up our local economy as businesses follow state and local guidelines.
 
Features of the website include, information about business resources for City departments, Resilient Columbia Economic Recovery Task Force meetings and presentations, COVID-19 mobile testing clinics and the Sustainability Plan.
 
The City of Columbia has compiled a Resilient Columbia Business FAQ’s document that may be helpful in assisting small business owners working to reopen their businesses during the pandemic.
Additional communications tools that will be developed includes a #ResilientColumbia social media campaign, public service announcements featuring City leaders, as well as social distancing signage and sidewalk decals.
 
The Resilient Columbia website serves as the online hub for economic recovery information, business resources and COVID-19 safety guidelines. For more information regarding Resilient Columbia business resources and information, please visit resilient.columbiasc.gov


COVID- 19 INFORMATION  
City Center Partnership Unveils HOPE for Columbia 

City Center Partnership (CCP) unveiled its new art installation project called HOPE for Columbia at First Citizens Green space on Main Street. Artists Danny Harrington and Brandon McIver were commissioned by CCP to create and install the piece. The art piece includes the HOPE letters and displays the Columbia Flag across them. The HOPE art piece will remain in the space until November. T he HOPE is located in the First Citizens green space on the corner of Lady St. & Main St. 

  City Council Unanimously Approved Revised Use of Force Policy

In response to the May 25, 2020 in-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Columbia Police Department (CPD) Chief W.H. "Skip" Holbrook reviewed CPD's current use-of-force policy. In keeping with CPD's commitment to transparency, accountability, and professionalism, Columbia City Council unanimously approved Chief Holbrook's recommendation to update the existing use-of-force policy.
 
 The revised policy, which also reflects Campaign Zero's "8 Can't Wait" recommendations, prohibits the use of chokeholds and carotid artery holds unless deadly force is authorized. Additionally, the policy outlines precautions officers must take in order to avoid positional asphyxia. 

“The marches and demonstrations that have galvanized the country, and our own Columbia community, for almost three weeks now have brought attention to fundamental concerns with the functions of our metropolitan police forces, and what we ask and expect of our uniformed public servants,” said Mayor Steve Benjamin. “We are fortunate that in Columbia our police force continues to find ways to better meet the needs of the communities they serve, and today’s decision by City Council on revising use of force policies will hopefully result in better relations and improved trust between our police and our citizens."
 
 Since 2014, CPD developed protocols, pledges and community-policing initiatives as part of the department's progressive 21st Century Policing posture.

 For a closer review, please visit:  https://columbiapd.net/publications/  and  https://columbiapd.net/
 
 Additionally, Chief will be discussing the policy revision with his counterparts who have also been appointed to the newly-formed National Police Reform and Racial Justice Working Group.


SCDOT's Public Comment Notices For June 2020
 
The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) is providing notification of a public comment notice. This information will be available for public review and comment on the SCDOT website via the links provided below.
 
SCDOT's Public Notification of:
 
 
 
In this regard, we are providing this information to you for review and comment. The press release announces that public comment is being sought with a description of the recommended project. Due to the size, we are asking that you refer to above links for the press release, along with an online interactive map.
 
This information is available for public review and comment until   July 14, 2020 on the above links.
 
Spanish Translation (Traducción en Español) is provided on the links above.
 
To ensure greater awareness of the request for public comment, please forward this email to your members, constituents, affiliates, local Businesses, Community Leaders, Policy Committee members, Transportation Study groups, Technical Committee members, local governments, local Chambers of Commerce, staff, and other interested groups as you determine. 

PLEASE NOTE: Information provided, including name and address, is subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
                         
 
Thank you for your assistance,
Viola Covington
Program Manager
Public Involvement & Title VI Coordinator
Office of Planning & Asset Management
955 Park Street - Room 511
Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: 803-737-3935/Fax: 803-737-1858  
 

SCDOT'S Public Notification

SC DOT | 803-737-1200| 955 Park Street, P.O. Box 191, Columbia, SC 29201-3959 | SCDOT Website
City of Columbia Public Works Director Wins National Leader of the Year

City of Columbia Public Works Director Robert Anderson was named one of the American Public Works Association (APWA) 2020 Top Ten Public Works Leaders of the Year.

In its 61 st year, this award is one of APWA’s highest honors, and is based on a lifetime of professional contributions. Recipients embody professionalism, expertise, and personal dedication to improving the quality of life in their communities through the advancement of public works services and technology.

“It is an honor for APWA to recognize these ten outstanding individuals for their dedication to the profession of public works and their daily efforts to make the lives better for the citizens in the communities they serve. APWA and the public works industry comprise a family of professionals who believe in the value of public service. And as a family, it is so important to celebrate their accomplishments, especially in times like these. Congratulations, my friends,” said APWA President Bill Spearman, P.E.

Anderson was recognized for his outstanding career service achievements. He is among a group of individual public works professionals and officials from both the public and private sectors in North America. Anderson has served the City of Columbia since 1988 starting at the Transfer Station Supervisor and worked his way up to Public Works Director. Over his career, Anderson has been instrumental in numerous city projects. His most notable accomplishments include:

·          Started the curbside recycling program in 1991
·          Implemented HAWK signals at major crosswalks
·          Rebuilt major roadways including Columbiana Drive and Lost Creek Drive
·          Earned a three-STAR Community rating for sustainability
·          Spearheaded the 10,000 Trees Program
·          Developed partnerships and programs to increase adoption and live release rates for Columbia Animal Services
·          Led several bicycle-friendly initiatives including bike racks, corrals and the Blue Bike SC share program

“We are absolutely thrilled Robert was named Top 10 Leader. He has served the City of Columbia and APWA with unwavering dedication. He truly embodies what it means to be a Top 10 Public Works Leader. He always has the best interest of the City and its residents when making decisions on how to protect and improve quality of life. We are honored to have him as a local leader,” said Dana Higgins, South Carolina chapter of APWA president.

Anderson has been a member of APWA since 1995. He is a graduate of Leadership South Carolina, an advisory board member for the South Carolina Local and Tribal Technical Assistance Program and served as a board member for Keep the Midlands Beautiful.

Anderson is a dedicated leader who makes it possible for the core services to be provided to the City of Columbia and to maintain a high quality of life.


About APWA
The American Public Works Association ( www.apwa.net ) is a not-for-profit, international organization of more than 30,000 members involved in the field of public works. APWA serves its members by promoting professional excellence and public awareness through education, advocacy, and the exchange of knowledge. APWA is headquartered in Kansas City, MO, has an office in Washington, D.C., and 63 chapters and 97 branches throughout North America.

City Ambassadors
Asst. Chief/Fire Marshal George Adams and Business License Inspector Peter Siepert City staff are serving as ambassadors and providing information to citizens and business owners about the City's new mask ordinance. The ambassadors are distributing ordinance flyers and free masks as needed.

For more information visit Resilient.columbiasc.gov.
George Adams - Asst. Chief/Fire Marshal
Peter Siepert - Business License Inspector

Columbia City Council

Stephen K. Benjamin
Mayor
Sam Davis
Councilman District I
Tameika Isaac Devine
Councilwoman At-Large
Howard E. Duvall, Jr.
Councilman At-Large
Edward H. McDowell, Jr.
Councilman District II
Daniel J. Rickenmann
Councilman District IV
Will Brennan
Councilman District III
Teresa Wilson
City Manager