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emerging.me

Horse-Drawn Carriages in Columbia

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They should limit the rides to USC and maybe down to the

convention center. I don't want horse manure in Gervais

where I drive like 10 times a day. Twelve passengers indicates

a big carriage with a couple of horses. I guess they will ride

north from the Vista to the Big Apple and then over to

Modjeska Simpkins cottage.

If you are ever near USC at night you can observe the Advocacy

Center packing the trolleys. Since the two prosecutors got shot

I think they urge the visitors not to walk to Five Points. There

is likely to be a market for these rides.

Also I'd like to see WHERE the developing tourist economy

is? I believe that's mostly families coming to the Fort to watch

kids graduate boot camp.

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Seems like a good idea to me. I would hope that they would take Park down to Greene and go up to 5 points. Or Park to Pendleton and go over that way. A horse would really clog up Gervais. There is always traffic on that road.

I don't really see Columbia as a place of tourism. I know its high on the tourist city list in SC, but its not Myrtle Beach or Charleston.

Still, if they can successfully operate thign business then I say more power to 'em.

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I would hope that they would take Park down to Greene and go up to 5 points. Or Park to Pendleton and go over that way. A horse would really clog up Gervais.

Green/Greene has too much traffic for a carriage. I have problems

in that drive almost every night going home. The new 3 way stop

at Barnwell holds traffic up enough..I can't imagine a horse carriage

with the traffic backed up behind.

I would like to see the horses carrying a loaded carriage up Gervais

just once. It's a good workout..I ride up it 2 or 3 times a week but

I'm a wheezing at the top. But I bet they ride the North to South

from the Vista to avoid the steep hill.

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I think it's a great idea!

Columbia is a city with a lot of history.

I think it will be really nice once they get main street up and going! It would be great if they would light up the Three Rivers Greenway at dusk and allow the carragies through that area when its complete as well. If I were heading that company I would start the tour around the future River Dock, work my way through the Vista, main street, USC/Capital grounds, and 5 points once it's made up.

Columbia will probablly never compete with Charleston or Myrtle Beach in the tourism game, but I believe if the city keeps developing downtown wisely it could definately become a regional attraction.

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I think it will be really nice once they get main street up and going! It would be great if they would light up the Three Rivers Greenway at dusk and allow the carragies through that area when its complete as well. If I were heading that company I would start the tour around the future River Dock, work my way through the Vista, main street, USC/Capital grounds, and 5 points once it's made up.

Main Street has finally started to grow. But this is perhap the third landscaping

effort in 20 years. Originally they focused on saving the downtown businesses

at great expense and the projects failed.. I remember they spent millions

on these 100 foot tall light poles (which had problems) and landscaped islands

in the middle of the street. Now the focus is towards residential development

and I think they have done well.

I'm across from the River dock. My doors are locked 24 hours a day because of

the vagrants down here. It has gotten better in the last year but until they

have the museum open til later at night it's not worth the trip down. After 300

Gervais is opened the environment will change too.

I'm guessing the horsey ride will be expensive. Hauling horses from

Blythewood every day is gonna be expensive.

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Research Man,

Are you sayin' you live or work down there? That's gonna be an awesome area in a year or two! We are always looking to leave Irmo for downtown, but it may take us a couple of years to make the move. I'd like to live in CanalSide, but that's a total unknown. We'll probably end up in Rosewood or Melrose or something... but I'd love to live closer to the river if they don't price us out. :)

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I live over at USC and work down across from EdVenture. Occasionally

I will work late and crash on the couch. Down here the neighbors are not

that great. I've had one friend mugged up at Publix, one across the street

at 300 Gervais, and a next door neighbor at USC was robbed .. under the

Gervais bridge. My relatives that fish the river tell me often..don't

go down there without a weapon. My brother fought off two guys under

the 12th bridge with a fishing rod.

Eventually it will become better. Right now there are perhaps 200 people living

on the riverfront who do not want to go to a shelter. Which means they do not

want to play by the rules. They can get a free meal and a cot or warm place

to sleep if they don't cause problems in the shelter. Infractions include

being drunk, doing drugs, fighting or having sex in the shelter. There's

a small village of homeless on the Congaree banks (both sides). Walk under

the Gervais bridge and you'll see lots of purses, wallets and check books. Cars

down at 300 Gervais are continuously broken into. We had one murder

about 1000 feet from here. About 3 or 4 have died in the cold weather

within a few hundred yards.

I've come to work so many times with guys sleeping on the walk, or had

defecated outside the front door. For months we had a guy who would go to

McDonalds and take a bag of garbage and drag it down to my front door. Where

he'd eat everybody's thrown away burger and fries. Clean that up a few times

and you kind of get tired of the neighbors. Many of these guys are decent people

who fell on hard times. But there is a hard core group that would cut you in a

second. You never know which one you are talking to. A lot of them have

mental problems..the cops tell me never ever confront a homeless person

because that usually does not go too well.

It's not safe down here at night. But everywhere is getting like that. I live

on Green St at USC and last year a homeless guy walked in my next door

neighbors house and raped her for hours. It was her second week of college.

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It's mainly down close to the bridge. Note the lights have been broken on the

bridge for months now. 300 Gervais is dark and 301 is mostly dark. If you are

in a group it's probably not so dangerous. Tonight I come down to check on

things and have a guy hunkered down sleeping 20 feet outside the door. I

don't want to call the cops and deal with it but still am thinking about it. It'll

be cold and they build fires to stay warm..and of course the landlord wants

me to run them all off. But often the police do not come until you call a few

times. CPD does not want to deal much with the homeless.

Funny story about CPD and the homeless. When I had more energy I'd call

the police more often. Once a seargant came down to talk to me. Turned out

he was a buddy from USC. Anyway the cops occasionally go under the bridges and

roust vagrants. Sometimes they 'encourage' them to take a train ride to a more

pleasant city. Anyway the seargant is rousting guys and finds his nephew down

there. I wonder what he told his sister?

Lots of folks go down during the day to get high. I'll often see guys in suits

and ties taking a trail down under the bridge.

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Thats a sad state of affairs. I really hope the situation improves.

The homeless people in 5 points are very aggressive. Every time I get gas at that Shell station I am accosted for money, which conveniently I never carry. This is why I don't get gas over there very much. Same goes for that Eckerds. USC reccomends that girls do not walk alone around campus to 5 points or what not at night. They highly reccomend having a male, or several girls in a group. You can also call USCPD and they will escort you to your location. I hate it for the homeless situation, but I feel like if they wanted to do something about it they could, so I don't have much sympathy.

I hope that the guest reader will note that this does not mean Columbia is a horrible place. The worst of these incidents are not a daily occurence. It just means that Columbia needs to come up with a solution to deal with its homeless population, which is what this thread is about.

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I do pro-bono work for a food pantry and like to help out but dealing with the

homeless is a pain. I noted we were not one of the Cities Mean to the Homeless.

I'm glad you mentioned the 5 points shakedown. I've been approached

several times in the Food Lion parking lot. When coming out of there

two weeks ago a guy rode up on a bicycle and said his car was out of gas.

Exxon would loan him a can but wanted a $10 deposit. He asked if I had

some change to make up the $10. I did not. Friday the same guy approached

me in the Post Office on Lady and he was out of gas again. When asked he denied

being the same person. I wasn't positive so I went to my car. I watched as he

asked several people for help. Then he walked to a bicycle and that's when I

knew it was the same guy. I followed him down the street where he got off and

panhandled in front of Chik Filet then headed over towards the Art museum.

I couldn't find a parking place or a cop and so I came on to the office.

I actually had bought the out-of-gas story. But mostly I have a few

simple rules to deal with on street requests. If someone comes up asking

for money I never give it to them. If they are hungry there are 5 or 6

places that will feed them for free and I can point them towards these places.

Those places will vet people far better than I can for need. If they claim

they need help I always say the police will help if you are in trouble.

Theses folks almost never want to have help from a cop. Once I opened

my door to a lady with tears rolling down her cheeks. She was wailing

about 'them' taking her babies away and needing money to get them

back. I talked over her wailing and told her the police will help anyone in

trouble. Within seconds she was dry eyed and walked away..down to

the Gervais St bridge.

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You know- if the homeless would put all that creativity to good use instead of trying to get free money, they wouldn't be homeless anymore.

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The thing is the majority are down on their luck. The hard core in-your-face

group is maybe 10 percent. I seem to run into the 10 percent most often,

likely because of where I live and work. But many homeless are sleeping in

someone's spare bedroom or their car.

I used to go buy a newspaper early in the morning..I liked to go in very early

for system backups and would always leave the house before local newspaper

delivery. I'd go buy a paper on Main Street. Right about 6:30 the Salvation

Army and the Gospel mission would close up and the homeless as a crowd

would walk down Main Street to Trinity Episcopal across from the State house.

The church provides a free breakfast and a bag lunch. Walking out of the

fog..it was a huge parade of guys. Amazing to see like a hundred homeless

walking up Main. If you are downtown early in the morning you can see

them lined up blocking Senate St waiting for a meal. And for the next couple

of hours they walk around with a little white bag containing a sandwidh and

a banana. From 8 to 10Am you can identify the homeless by looking our for that

little white paper bag.

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This doesn't actually belong in this thead, but I didn't feel it was entirely worth of a new thread. Since we've been talking about the homeless issue here...

From WISTV.com:

Coble hopes for homeless solution for Columbia by spring

(Columbia) Nov. 16, 2004 - Columbia Mayor Bob Coble is planning a summit next Monday to discuss the homeless situation in the Capital City as part of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, but he says a solution isn't expected until the spring.

Several men and women spent the night Monday in homeless shelters trying to stay out of the cold. The United Way Family Center says there are about 5000 homeless people in Columbia, and about 40 percent are children. The mayor says he's comfortable there is enough shelter for the homeless this season.

On Tuesday Mayor Coble said the number one goal of the summit is to nail down a location for the city's homeless services and "to try to come up with a community consensus as to where and how we're going to deliver these services."

He says the city needs a solution, especially because the lease on the Beth and Lou Holtz WInter Shelter, which formally opened for the season Monday night, runs out this year, "We cannot be in a situation where people are out in the cold weather with no place to go."

The mayor says Monday's meeting will include homeless service providers as well as business leaders, "One, I think we have to ask all members of our community to help us solve this problem, and number two I think we have to make sure we do everything we can to address the effects that services to the homeless may have to those neighbors."

Meanwhile, the Cooperative Ministry and the Beth and Lou Holtz Winter Shelter are teaming up to collect food for the homeless this weekend. The "Pack the Attic" food drive kicks off on Saturday at 9:00am at 1004 Zimalcrest Drive and at the Cooperative Ministry at 1928 Taylor Street.

As part of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week Healing Properties has a variety of events planned to benefit the homeless.

Tuesday, November 16th Healing Properties is planning a Hygiene Drive in partnership with Veterans Formation. The items they are looking for include safety razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, hair brushes, lotion, female items. Again donations will be taken at 2711 Middleburg Drive from 8:00am until 6:00pm. The second drop-off location will be the Salvation Army, room 115 at 2025 Main Street from 9:00am to 3:00pm.

A Personal Hygiene and Linen Drive will take place on Wednesday, November 17th . Healing Properties is partnering with The Salvation Army to make this drive possible, and they are collecting towels, sheets, wash cloths, razors, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, hair brushes, and female items. Wednesday the collection points will be 2711 Middleburg from 8:00am until 6:00pm and The Salvation Army at 2025 Main Street in room 115 from 9:00am until 3:00pm.

Thursday, November 18th will bring a wrap-up All Things Needed Drive. Family Shelter is assisting Healing Properties with this drive, and they are looking for prepaid phone cards, cleaning supplies, diapers, all personal hygiene items, canned food, school supplies, towels, and underwear for men, women and children. Just as for the previous drives, 2711 Middleburg Drive will be open as a collection site from 8:00am to 6:00pm. Family Shelter is providing a second site at 1629 McFadden Street off Two Notch Road.

Friday, November 19th is a day of celebration for Healing Properties with an Open House at 6:00pm and a concert with "Dangerous Fun with the Irascible Mr. Swain" at 7:00pm. Both events are at their location at 2711 Middleburg Drive.

And, to help spread the holiday cheer to those less fortunate, Kroger is encouraging all residents to stop by their local stores and participate in the Can Hunger 2004 food drive and fundraiser, which runs until December 31. All donations will stay locally, benefiting the Harvest Hope Food Bank.

From November 14 until December 31, Kroger shoppers can purchase a Can Hunger 2004 prepackaged box of nutritious food for $7.50 to benefit the Harvest Hope Food Bank. They can also make a monetary donation at the Kroger cash register or drop off nonperishable items at the Can Hunger 2004 collection bins at all local Kroger stores.

Service agencies for the homeless in the Midlands hope to get a better count of the people they serve. A coalition of service agencies plan to record information about the Midlands' homeless in a database that could be used to produce a count.

The Homeless Management Information Systems will be funded by a $193,000, three-year grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. It would serve as a central database for the 11 counties that make up the Midlands Area Consortium for the Homeless.

Agencies plan to begin building the database at the end of this year.

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Just to get this thread back on topic... here's an update on the horse-drawn carriages from WISTV.com:

Carriage rides coming to downtown Columbia

(Columbia) Nov. 29, 2004 - Don't be surprised if you see a horse and buggy making its way though downtown Columbia within the next few weeks. It's all part of a new business starting up called Columbia Carriage Works.

The service will have one horse, named Lancelot, pulling 12 passengers along in his carriage.

There will be three routes to start. One will start at the Blue Marlin Restaurant in the Vista and then head down to Five Points. The second will begin its route at the Robert Mills House and the third along Main Street.

Lancelot the horse also goes by Lance and has been practicing his rides in Columbia, getting used to cars and the idea of a traffic light. He rode around the capital and university on Sunday afternoon for about 40 minutes and his owner said his performance was great.

Lance walks along the roads with the cars at a pace of about four to five miles an hour. His owner told News 10 that holding up traffic wasn't an issue on Sunday's practice run because Lance spent more time stopped at traffic lights than he did walking.

Columbia Carriage Works hopes to start regular weekend rides before Christmas. Prices aren't set yet.

Lance is currently practicing in the Long Creek subdivision.

By Heather Brown

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4-5 mph? They need to make that horse walk a little faster! I can only imagine the irate drivers stuck behind a horse carriage!

I really don't see the market for this service here in Columbia, but I hope it succeeds anyway.

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Wasn't there a comment about one of the lights changing within 28 seconds ? It seems like he could not get through the intersection in time. They did say he'd wear diapers. Now if I was getting married or something maybe (BIG MAYBE) I'd spring for the carriage ride..but not to 5 points. Also the Mills house is a very strange place to start a carriage ride. Maybe iin the future after something happens at DMH property.

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It doesn't make a lot of sense to me either. I'll really be surprised if the service is here in 6 months. But you never know, once the convention hotel is open the may have some out of state folks thinking they are in Charleston or Savannah willing to pony up for a ride. Or maybe the convention center could provide a carriage ride for groups as a package deal.

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Well I'm an optamist! I think it can be successful! Lexington, KY they have horse drawn carriages that start at the downtown Radison and tours the city. Now I know Kentucky is horse country but these arne't thouroughbreds pulling these carriages around town. If Lexington can do it Columbia can. I think once the convention center hotel is complete and conventioneers get into town it will be a novelty for them. How many cities can say they have that service? I also think that once mainstreet gets up and running that will make a difference too, but I could be wrong?

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Did you catch WIS news last night on Main street growth? It was a puff piece on city center development. They interviewed one of the new clothing stores.Sales has not been good. Sales has picked up recently..but the owner thought it was seasonal. He admitted in the interview how risky he thought it was when locating on Main. The reporter worded her report carefully..I saw it twice to make sure (i record the news). They interviewed one of the city center development execs. I came away with the thought the interview was set up by the exec to encourage people to come down main and shop. It was the middle of the day..and there was no one in the shop.

They did indicate Main street has 200 apartments with 100 % occupancy. So there's some dining demand. Still dunno about retail or horse carriages. Maybe it will work. I am a reformed optimist!! :P

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Yeah, I posted the news item and video in our other thread on this...

Here it is.

I was down there while they were filming. Matt Kennell with City Center is a really good guy. I don't think they setup the story, but I'm sure the local media is painting an optimistic picture in the hope that it'll further perpetuate revitalization -- shared interest there. Plus, it's news... people ike us want to hear about.

Cobalt is a really cool store. I just discovered it last week -- they obviously haven't done a great job of getting the word out. I heard about it via a student in my wife's class at USC. I wear a lot of the men's clothing that they carry there, but I had just blown my entire clothes budget for the rest of the year when I found out about the place. They'll be getting my business in the future if they're still around.

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Last night after writing this I had to go thru Main Street and took a few minutes to ride around. There are people in the area. Almost no parking was available between Main and Sumter running from Hampton to Laurel. Across Hampton from the hotel there was activitiy in a few storefronts. It was about 6:15. But from Hampton north only Cobalt was open for retail. Hennessys had the lights on but looking through the windows they had no customers. The corners around the museum should be exploited for retail. A nightlife could grow there with the residents if the area draws (like the art museum) would stay open later. Anyone know what's going on at the Elite epicurean site? The Tapps's place could be a magnet too.

There is much potential but also problems with the Oliver Gospel Mission, city bus hub transfer point, Salvation Army all within perhaps a 1000 feet. I'm aware of my surroundings and I like that area around the library..but then I think about the three people who were shot (2 died) next to the art museum a few years ago. I think of how often I'm asked for money going in/coming out of the library and post office. I 'd be more optimistic if I could forget where crime happens in the area. I hate to say it but much of Main Street retail today reminds me of the same stores from the late 70s. Drake's Duck In, Kimbrell's, some lower scale retail. Much has been upgraded but it's easy to see the past.

If I get a chance I'll post a map of the businesses located down there today.

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