Gills Creek Greenway A Update 4/18/2017

Greetings!

As you remember, the second public meeting on the proposed Gills Creek Greenway Section A was held on Wednesday, February 22. Following that meeting, the Cross Hill neighborhood began fighting against the project. Another, closed meeting was held with Daniel Rickenmann, Greg Pearce, and some staff members with the Cross Hill neighborhood. A compromise was reached with the neighborhood to start the greenway at Ft. Jackson Blvd instead of Kilbourne Rd.

On April 3 representatives from the Gills Creek Watershed Association attended the Greenway Advisory Committee meeting with the Penny Development Team, River Alliance, Rocky Branch Watershed Alliance, Sustainable Midlands, Richland County Conservation Commission, and City of Columbia.

It was reported at the meeting that of all the comments received on Gills Creek A, there were 489 supportive comments. 14 support an alternate location/starting point, 12 neutral, and 137 don't want the trail/negative comments. The Project Development Team will now make a recommendation to County Transportation Ad Hoc Committee on how to proceed, which will then go to full council. The recommendation will be to continue as planned, but with a new starting location at Ft. Jackson Blvd.

By starting the greenway at Ft Jackson Blvd, current funds will be made available to extend the greenway further south, possibly to Timberlane.

There was some discussion about the Ft Jackson Blvd crossing. The PDT team suggested using existing crosswalks at Kilbourne. GCWA favored a pedestrian friendly crosswalk at Crowson Rd or even an underpass beneath the bridge.

Erich Miarka of GCWA and Mike Dawson of the River Alliance stressed that the Gills Creek Greenway A project from Ft Jackson Blvd south along the creek to Bluff Rd should be approved and designed immediately.

GCWA has submitted a preliminary proposal to DHEC for a 319 grant for Crowson Road creek restoration which would occur in conjunction with the greenway construction. The City of Columbia has pledged a $250,000 matching grant. We are actively seeking other funds to make the Crowson Rd section of the creek a showplace and destination for the area, and to provide access and water quality improvements.

To achieve this objective, we will need cooperation from the property owner of Rosewood Crossing to grant an easement or donate the property.

We have volunteer cleanups planned for late April and early May. Check the website or Facebook page for details.

For you intrepid paddlers, we may arrange a trail blazing paddle sometime this spring. Call Erich at 727-8326 if you are interested.


Gills Creek Greenway A

Gills Creek Greenway A Penny Project

The citizens of Richland County approved a penny increase in the sales tax to fund transportation improvements. A portion of those monies will be available for the development of greenways. Three locations along Gills Creek were identified as sites for greenway development including the area encompassed by our plan.

We believe a greenway could be a great asset to the community, as it has been for many others. We have been working with the Penny team to develop plans for the greenway, and have been seeking other funds to enhance the plan by improving the condition of the creek.

Gills Creek Penny Handout The Penny Team's web site is richlandpenny.com and you can contact them by email at info@RichlandPenny.com.

Goals and Objectives

The Gills Creek Watershed Association's mission is to restore and protect the watershed primarily by reducing the impacts of the urban environment. Our goals include:
  • Improve water quality in the Gills Creek Watershed
  • Reduce stormwater runoff and flooding
  • Develop access for pedestrian and paddling recreation
  • Better habitat in and along the creek for wildlife and aquatic life
  • Create a great place for people to connect with nature
  • Provide new educational opportunities for schools and the community
  • A signature place in Columbia; a center of community pride
By getting folks out enjoying the creek, we hope to increase appreciation for the creek and generate interest that will help us achieve our other goals.

On the north end, trails will intersect the Capital City Passage of the Palmetto Trail on Kilbourne Road just below the Lake Katharine dam.

At the south end, the Gills Creek Blue Trail will connect to the Congaree River Blue Trail.

In between there are numerous opportunities for walking, jogging, cycling and paddling trails, nature observation, fishing, and other outdoor activities.

And there is the opportunity to restore, retrofit, and the institute best management practices (BMPs) to reduce pollution, the impact of stormwater runoff, and flooding in developed and undeveloped areas.

A Richland County Conservation Grant allowed us to develop a master plan that was presented in November 2013.
View or download the Gills Creek Middle Watershed Master Plan as a pdf file.

City of Columbia Commercial Devine St/Fort Jackson Commercial Node Plan evaluated the area of Devine St, Crosshill Rd and Fort Jackson Blvd for land use and urban design, market conditions, transportation, utilities and green infrastructure, and to propose a conceptual plan including recommendations and implementation strategies for future development.
More information about the study is available at the city's Planning and Development web site.

The City also has a Walk-Bike Columbia web page which allows the user to identify places on a map where they want improvements for biking, walking, access to transit, or a bike share station in Columbia!

The current route of the Palmetto Conservation Foundation's Palmetto Trail runs along Kilbourne Rd across Gills Creek. Our trail would connect to Kilbourne just east of the creek.
More info is available at the Finish the Palmetto Trail web site.


Greenway Facts...

General benefits, economic benefits, health benefits, safety and environmental facts.


Greenway Examples...

Swamp Rabbit Trail, Falls Park on the Reedy, Little Sugar Creek, San Antonio River Walk


Middle Watershed Plan

A working group in the Gills Creek Watershed Association developed an aspirational plan to improve the urban area from Ft Jackson Blvd to Rosewood and to preserve the other relatively undeveloped stretches of Gills Creek from the Lake Katharine dam to Shop Road as a greenway and a blueway. Based on the ideas developed in the initial plan, Gills Creek Watershed Association received a grant from the Richland County Conservation Commission to complete a Master Plan for the Middle Gills Creek Watershed which extends from Kilbourne Road to Shop Road. Additional funding was provided by Edens. The final results of this project is a community endorsed Middle Watershed Plan with greenways, best management practices for handling stormwater, and identified stream restoration projects.

Please note that this project plan has been superseded by the Richland County Transportation Penny Gills Creek Greenway Section A project. Perhaps as the benefits of the Greenway A are realized, the expanded plan presented here can be implemented.

See the old plan which includes maps of the area...


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Send an email to greenway@gillscreekwatershed.org

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