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Main Street/CBD Developments


mainstreeter

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But that would be considered South Main, and its the section north of Gervais and south of Elmwood that we are interested in, right?

South Main is a different beast entirely since it is within USCs direct sphere of influence.

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Oops, I actually meant north of the statehouse; those two venues fall within the designated boundaries (Main north of Gervais and south of Elmwood). Sorry. :silly:

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More ideas

I would like to see a kick butt place for Happy Hour.  A lot more people work on Main Street and it would be nice to walk somewhere instead of trying to find parking in the Vista.

A small unique bookstore that serves coffee possibly in one of the many basements along Main St.

A small museum which covers all the rich history of Columbia.

High end spa to cater to the many working women and men downtown.  Possibly on top of a high rise or a building with nice views of Columbia

A small grocer (sp?)

Sandy's Hot Dogs - No place to get a good dog and ice cream on Main St.

Possibly some art galleries and work areas.  Plenty of basements on Main St note being used and are probably pretty inexpensive. 

Anyone else have some ideas?  It would be awesome if Columbia's Main St ever becomes a thriving day and night area.

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Cool Ideas colajnp

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I came across this report on the web by the Brookings Institute, "Turning Around Downtown: 12 Steps to Revitalization", and this step was of interest to me:

Step 5: Establish Business Improvement Districts and Other Non-Profits

One of the leading ways the private/public process is implemented is through various non-profits, particularly business improvement districts (BID). There are over 1400 BIDs in the country and it is now well understood that establishing a BID is crucial to the successful revitalization of a downtown. In essence, the BID is the quasi-government for the downtown, the

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I came across this report on the web by the Brookings Institute, "Turning Around Downtown: 12 Steps to Revitalization", and this step was of interest to me:

Step 5: Establish Business Improvement Districts and Other Non-Profits

One of the leading ways the private/public process is implemented is through various non-profits, particularly business improvement districts (BID). There are over 1400 BIDs in the country and it is now well understood that establishing a BID is crucial to the successful revitalization of a downtown. In essence, the BID is the quasi-government for the downtown, the “keeper of the flame” of the downtown strategy, and the provider of services the city government cannot deliver.

A downtown BID is funded by property owners who voluntarily increase their property taxes by 5 to 15 percent to pay for BID functions. The tax is collected through the normal city channels, so there is always the temptation by the city council or mayor to co-opt the use of those funds. It is important that the legislation, typically enacted by the state legislature, be written to mandate control of the funds by the BID’s board of directors. The BID’s main leadership role is managing the implementation of the strategy, which must be constantly updated. The BID may be responsible, for example, for ensuring the various task forces charged with implementing parts of the strategy are motivated to complete their efforts.

The BID might also create a new signage program for downtown, work for the development and approval of the form-based code, and market the downtown to new developers. The BID’s operational role is usually (1) increasing the perceived and actual safety of downtown; (2) making the place cleaner; (3) creating festivals and events to encourage suburbanites to come downtown, and; (4) improving downtown’s image. BIDs typically include a force of trained “safety ambassadors” who offer a friendly face on the street, are trained to handle quality of life infractions, and who are wired to the police. They also have permanent staff performing the cleaning, events, and marketing functions.

The downtown revitalization effort may spur the creation of additional non-profit organizations. A parking authority can often more efficiently manage and market the availability of parking in downtown, for example. Another non-profit could take responsibility for encouraging the development of affordable housing and commercial space. A separate non-profit might focus just on keeping artists and galleries downtown in the face of rising rents and values. It is critical that these non-profits either have a dedicated source of funding and/or offer services which generate revenue so that they don’t have to rely upon perpetual foundation grants or government subsidies.

In short, the BID and other non-profits are a downtown’s management team-ensuring its many complex elements work together to create a safe, attractive, unique, and well-functioning place.

This sounds somewhat similar to the what the city has done with the Vista in making the area a tax-increment financing district (TIF). Frankly, this sounds like something that the Main Street area could really use right now.

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Cola. Main Street already has a BID, it was established in like 1993. A TIF is for capital projects like the Convention Center, streetscaping, Findlay Park, etc.

Greenville is looking to establish a BID. On a Greenville Thread, I posted a long post on that.

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On a Greenville Thread, I posted a long post on that.

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and here it is.....

A business improvement district (BID) is a special tax district.  The city would establish boundaries and set a millage rate.  These are usually pretty low.  All the property within the BID pays the extra millage as part of it's regular tax levy.  That money is set aside for the benefit of the BID.  The money can be used for marketing, beautification, extra police patrols, just about anything.  Usually the lion share goes to pay the staff salaries.  These folks provide advocacy, marketing, put on festivals or farmer's markets, etc.  Jacksonville has one. There website is www.downtownjacksonville.org.  You can browse that and get a better idea.

A BID should not be confused with a TIF, Tax-Increment-Financing district.  A TIF simply "freezes" the tax revenues within its' boundaries, and all INCREASES over and above that frozen amount are directed to pay for specific capital improvements (streetscaping, parks, public buildings, etc.).  A TIF does not result in a tax increase, it merely re-directs future revenues from the General Fund into paying the bonds for the capital improvements.

TIF funds primarily come from renovations and new construction within the district,plus increases in the property values as the improvements (both public and private) come about.  Columbia has a TIF covering it's Congaree Vista which has paid for many projects, including the Colonial Center, Gervais St. streetscaping, Findlay Park and other projects.

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The BID does several things I know of and probably a lot more.

They have the clean and safe team which you will see wearing yellow shirts around the downtown area. They will help people with directions, keep homeless from sleeping in common area, escort people to places if the people feel threatened, and keep downtown clean.

They help the recruitment of companies coming to downtown. I know they played a critical role in bringing the insurance co Trumbell Services to Main St.

Promotional events like the Magnolia Market, Movies on Main, and I know they are helping out with the car show on Main St the weekend of Aug 20th.

I am sure if you contact them they could provide you with a list of what they do. The website for the BID is www.citycentercolumbia.sc

Now here is a few more ideas:

How about a sporting event or tournament downtown with proceeds going to a charity. Ideas such as a wiffle ball tournament, street soccer, go-cart races in the street (Bloomington, Indiana has a killer race), or maybe a beach volleyball tournament if you could get the sand out pretty easy. This would attract families and people from other areas of the state. Half the battle with Columbia is it still percieved as it was in the early 1990's. It is far from being great but it is getting better.

Edited by mainstreeter
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North Main Street has lots more food. I'm making list of some you missed as I walk up the street in my mind... Geeze it's dark in here.

Cat and Cleaver

Just Fresh

Capitol City Club

Newsstand (coffee)

Garden Bistro

Chic-fil-a

That little place in the Barringer Bldg.

Drake's Duck-In

Rising High

Jammin Java

Findley's

Hennessy's

Mac's

Within a block:

Eddie's

Gervais Street Deli

Roly Poly

Hampton Place Cafe

Soup Nazi (I can't remember the name.)

Hampton Street Vinyard

Camon

There are two Italian places whose names evade...

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Ha! They are horirbly behind schedule from what I understand. Probably next year some time. Are they done with the Gervais-Lady block yet?

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No, but it's beginning to look like a street again. However, now they've taken the Main Street workers and put them on Lady Street. The restaurant owners I've talked with are hugely frustrated.

Anyone tried out The Whig yet?

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Evidently that was a 1970's idea of a good streetscaping. I don't remember ever seeing those, but I remember hearing stories on Channel 10 about taking them down.

If anybody has a pic, please post it.

In my hometown of Florence, they closed off one block of a DT street and put 4 huge lights in the center along with a small fountain, a couple of benches and a wooden structure that was a cross between a play area for kids and "art". Needless to say, losing the traffic flow hurt what few businesses were left, and the entire thing was ripped out after about three years.

Edited by vicupstate
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Well, I had no idea...Main Street isn't horrible, but I really wonder what it would look like without the BID in place.

I mentioned streetscaping earlier (or it might have in another thread). Anyway, one of the letters to the editor of The State had this to say about it:

Under Columbia Mayor Bob Coble, the merchants of the Vista as well as Five Points have taken a huge financial hit. I can only speak as a Vista merchant, and what I have seen and heard from other merchants is far from praising the great leadership of Mayor Coble.

Under his leadership, certain parts of the streetscape will not be done. For example, on Gadsden and Gervais streets, where my business is located, there will be no sidewalks and no street lighting. Improper street lighting, dangerous, uneven pavement and no sidewalks are not great leadership. Why half a block?

This area relies on customers being able to walk from merchant to merchant. I am paying the increased tax for the construction just like all the other merchants whose businesses will be gaining from the investment being made.

I ask the citizens of Columbia to call the mayor

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Evidently that was a 1970's idea of a good streetscaping.  I don't remember ever seeing those, but I remember hearing stories on Channel 10 about taking them down.

If anybody has a pic, please post it.

In my hometown of Florence, they closed off one block of a DT street and put 4 huge lights in the center along with a small fountain, a couple of benches and a wooden structure that was a cross between a play area for kids and "art".  Needless to say, losing the traffic flow hurt what few businesses were left, and the entire thing was ripped out after about three years.

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Spartanburg did the mall thing too. We didn't have those lights, but our centerpiece was a clock tower that now sits on Morgan Square. For a while, we had these gigantic flourescent lights downtown (waay back)... maybe 4 feet long. No coverings. Just open flourescent lights. Ick. :sick:

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Gadsden goes down by the Meritage. One street west of Lincoln. Gadsden needs it bad. It would truely help that area even if the streetscaping was only from Gervais to Washington.

Gervais & Gadsden

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Gadsden runs from Gervais to Elmwood, parallel to Huger and Assembly. Like Spartan said, it runs next to Meritage. I'm not sure about the sidewalk and lighting question, although I think it is cheap to blame the mayor for everything. Remember the mayor's office is a part time job in Columbia, the city manager is hired by city council and conducts the day-to-day business of the city. It would be nice to see the streetscaping extend to Washington instead of just Lady along Gadsden Street, though.

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I was at the library yesterday and there was this book from the early 80s about Columbia. Had ALOT of cool pictures of Main St. and downtown....But in the early 80s I didn't know there were 150 FT. flood lights on Main St. That was the ugliest picture I had ever seen. What were those for?

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They were supposed to make Main Street safer by making the street brighter. Having stadium lights certainly did make the street alot brighter at night; it looked like a Christmas Tree year round. :) The lights were removed after a few years, though.

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No, but it's beginning to look like a street again. However, now they've taken the Main Street workers and put them on Lady Street. The restaurant owners I've talked with are hugely frustrated.

Anyone tried out The Whig yet?

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The streetscaping does seem to be taking an awfully long time. At least the Gervais-Lady block is being done at the same time as the First Citizens Building construction.

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They were supposed to make Main Street safer by making the street brighter. Having stadium lights certainly did make the street alot brighter at night; it looked like a Christmas Tree year round. :) The lights were removed after a few years, though.

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Weren't those big lights crazy?! I was just a kid, but if I'm not mistaken they were reused and to this day may still be lighting up malfunction junction... right near the Bush River Road exit on I-26. Look up.

Edited by emerging.me
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