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May 2019

Community Corner provides residents with information about upcoming events, City meetings, City recognition, fostering animals and the Columbia City Council Vision Statement.

In case you missed any City events in the past month, Community Corner gives a little insight on past events to give you an opportunity to stay connected with the City of Columbia.
Upcoming Events

May At-Large Open House | May 8

Citizens are encouraged to make an appointment to meet with Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine and Councilman Howard Duvall, who both represent the at-large seats on City Council.

The May At-Large Open House will be held on Wednesday, May 8, 2019, at City Hall, 1737 Main St., Columbia, SC 29201; from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. 
An appointment must be scheduled to attend. Call (803) 545-3061 for information or scheduling purposes.


City’s Ceremonial Baseball Field Construction Site Visit Rescheduled for May 3

The City of Columbia’s ceremonial baseball field construction site visit will be held on Friday, May 3 at 10 a.m. at the corner of Lester Drive & Bailey Street. City staff will be on site to direct guests to the baseball field construction site.

The ceremony will feature guest speakers and a ceremonial turning of the soil.

For more information, call the Parks and Recreation Department at 803-545-3100.

City to Host 7th Annual Small Business Week Conference

The City’s Office of Business Opportunities will host their seventh annual Small Business Week Conference on Friday, May 10, 2019, from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center (1101 Lincoln Street).

The City of Columbia is committed to supporting its entrepreneurs and small businesses on a local level. Through the City of Columbia’s Small Business Week Conference, the Office of Business Opportunities highlights the impact of the City’s outstanding entrepreneurs and small business owners.


The First Tee of Columbia Golf Tournament

The First Tee of Columbia has partnered with the Karcher Group and B-Squared to host its third annual fundraising golf tournament on Wednesday, May 29 at the Cobblestone Park Golf Club, 1298 University Parkway, Blythewood, SC, 29016.

The fee to participate in the First Tee of Columbia Golf Tournament is $400 per foursome, which includes 18 holes and cart with lunch, dinner, prizes and more. 

A superticket is available for $25, which includes entry into the putting contest and raffle.


Black Expo South Returns to Columbia, South Carolina

On May 15 – 18, 2019, Black Expo South will host their annual Empowerment Summit Weekend.

City of Columbia Seek Donations for Displaced Mothers During Live Remote

The City of Columbia is conducting a toiletry drive with Two Men and a Truck for their Movers for Moms Campaign. Movers for Moms seek to recognize moms in crisis on Mother’s Day by arranging special delivery of gifts to women that have been displaced or living in local shelters.

 A live remote with the 103.9 and the Big DM will be held Thursday, May 2, 2019 at the Drew wellness center, 2101 Walker Solomon Way from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm, for those who would like to drop off donations for the Mothers in need.
Items can be donated to the following locations:

  • Columbia Fire Department, 1800 Laurel Street
  • City Hall, 1737 Main Street
  • Columbia Police Department, 1Justice Square
  • Washington Square, 1126 Washington Street
  • 1225 Lady Street
  • 1800 Main
  • Drew Wellness Center, 2101 Walker Solomon Way

Mission: Dream Possible Columbia Youth Day

Join Serve & Connect, the Columbia Parks & Recreation Department and the Columbia Police Department for a fun day of youth empowerment!

The Dream Possible Columbia Youth Day will be held on Sunday, May 5, 2019, at Hyatt Park, 950 Jackson Ave.  from 2 - 5 p.m.  

There will be bounce houses, games, prizes, youth performances, and an opportunity fair. At this FREE event, you'll have the chance to meet media personalities, athletes, entertainers, and more!

Together. We are better. Our goal for this event is to encourage the youth in the area to dream big and connect them with resources to help accomplish these dreams.

City to Celebrate National
Drinking Water Week

In recognition of National Drinking Water Week, Columbia Water invites you to celebrate our local drinking water sources and those people who work around the clock to deliver clean water to all of us.

For more information, please call Columbia Water at 803.545.3300.


Drew Wellness Center to Host Senior Health Fair

In observance of National Senior Health & Fitness Day, the Charles R. Drew Wellness Center will host a free health fair for seniors ages 50 and older on Wednesday, May 29, 2019, at Charles R. Drew Wellness Center, 2101 Walker Solomon Way; from
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact the Drew Wellness Center at

Upcoming Meetings
Please click on the boxes below to view the
upcoming meetings for the month of May.
Board of Zoning Appeals Meetings Dates
Columbia City Council Meeting Dates
Design/Development Review Comission Meeting Dates
Planning Commission Meeting Dates
City Announcement

City Offices to Close in Observance Memorial Day

In observance of Memorial Day, the City of Columbia offices will be closed on Monday, May 27, 2019.

All garbage, recycling and yard trash collection routes will remain on regular schedule.

Emergency police, fire and rescue services may be reached by calling 9-1-1.

Let’s Move! Columbia Family Wellness Challenge Applications Available
20 families will be selected

 Applications for Let’s Move! Columbia’s free 12-week family wellness challenge is available now through May 3, the Columbia Parks & Recreation Department announced.
The Let’s Move! Columbia Family Wellness Challenge will begin Monday, May 6 and will be held through Sunday, July 28.

Up to 20 families will be selected to compete in the wellness challenge. A family must include at least one child and one adult living in the same household. Participants must be age 6 and older. Grandparents who live in the same household can also participate.

A kick-off celebration will be held on Sunday, May 5, 2019, at 4 p.m. at the Charles R. Drew Wellness Center located at 2101 Walker Solomon Way for those families who are selected to compete in the challenge.
Families must complete an application and describe why their family should be considered for the wellness challenge and list the goals they want to reach by participating.
Participants will be asked to track their meals and activities, and participate in a variety of special events throughout the challenge.

Participants will receive points in the following categories:

  • Fitness
    • Exercise program (on their own or at the Charles R. Drew Wellness Center
    • Scheduled group activity
  •  Nutrition/Gardening
    •     Attending cooking and nutrition classes
    •     Attending gardening sessions or planting a garden at home
  • Family Activity
    • Spending time together as a family (sharing or cooking a meal together, attending a special event, exercising, shopping, gardening etc.)
Overall prizes valued at $1,000, $500 and $250 will be awarded to the top three families who log the most points at the end of the challenge.
All participating families will receive a certificate for their participation.
Each family that is selected for the challenge will receive the following:
  • Free health screenings (BMI and blood pressure)
  • Physical activity and nutrition tips
  • 3-month membership to the Charles R. Drew Wellness Center
  • Activity tracking notebook
  • Activity and program calendars
  • Personal potted plant for children
  • Raised garden bed kit for the entire family
  • Boot Camp sessions with a personal trainer
  • Chance to win prizes worth up to $1,000
  •  And more!
To download an application, visit ||.

Applications must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, May 3, 2019.
Applications can be submitted in the following ways:
  • Email: Wanda Austin at
  • Mail or deliver in person:
    • City of Columbia Parks & Recreation Department, 1111 Recreation Drive, Columbia, SC 29201 (Hours of operation: Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
  • Fax: 803-343-8744 (Attn: Wanda Austin)

For more information, contact Wanda Austin at 803-315-4964 or ||.

Mayor Benjamin and City of Columbia announce
Columbia Youth Commission election

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and the City of Columbia are relaunching the Columbia Youth Commission program and will hold an election for students in Richland and Lexington counties on May 7.

“Relaunching the Columbia Youth Commission with this special election makes it an incredibly unique, exciting and influential program for young people in our city,” said Mayor Benjamin. “I look forward to the leadership exhibited by our youth through the programming, policies and innovative ideas they bring forth over the next year. It’s imperative for us to not only converse with our youth but to keep them engaged in our governmental processes.”

The Columbia Youth Commission is a program for local students to provide leadership and improve services for youth in the City of Columbia. The group of young leaders will work to bridge the gap between adults and youth, fostering a greater sense of unity, communication and partnership throughout the city.

Over the past few years, the activism and civic engagement in Generation Z (people born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s) has been evident, particularly in movements such as The March for our Lives. To better leverage the energy, ideas and voices of young people in our community, programs like a Youth Commission are not only beneficial but are imperative for cities that want to more intentionally engage with youth and understand their needs as a demographic.


City of Columbia is Working to Ensure a Complete and Accurate Count of all its Residents in the 2020 U.S. Census

The City of Columbia is working to ensure a complete and accurate count of all its residents in the 2020 U.S. Census by appointing a team of community members, known as a Complete Count Committee (CCC) to help guide the effort.  Operating under the leadership of Chynna Phillips, Research & Policy Manager for the Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina, and co-chair Kayla Mallett, SC Citizens Review Panel Coordinator for the Children’s Law Center UofSC School of Law, the committee is made up of key stakeholders representing a diverse range of organizations and interests. Members include:
• John Andoh, Executive Director/CEO Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (The COMET)
• Richard Barr, Vice President of Strategic and Organizational Development Center for Fathers and Families
• Sue Berkowitz, Director SC Appleseed Legal Justice Center
• Celeste Cannon, Digital Producer WACH FOX 57
•  Alejandro Florez, Real Estate Agent & Realtor Century 21 Vanguard
• Dominique Francis, Workforce Development Manager S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control
• Margaret Gibson, Director of Community Services Wateree Community Actions, Inc.
• Santanna Hayes, Creative Marketing and Quality Director Midlands Fatherhood Coalition
• Sharita Moultrie, Community Health Specialist Richland Library
• Kim Janha, Legislative Coordinator Richland County Government
• Berry Kelly, Director, Bureau of Community Nutrition Services S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control
• Shigehuru Kobayashi, Entrepreneur Camon Sushi
• Kayla Mallett, SC Citizens Review Panel Coordinator Children's Law Center School of Law
• Bre Maxwell, Executive Assistant/District Scheduler Office of the Majority Whip James E. Clyburn
• Karen Oliver, Senior Director, Community Resources United Way of the Midlands
• Chynna Phillips, Research and Policy Manager Sisters of Charity Foundation of South Carolina
• Debbie Robertson, Chief Partnership Officer South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness
• Larry Salley, Executive Director Benedict College
• Aditi Srivastav, Research and Community Impact Manager Children's Trust of South Carolina
• Tammaka Staley, Poet and Teaching Artist Poet
• Shannon Stephens, Vice President TD Bank
• Dalton Tresvant, Deputy District Director Office of the Majority Whip James E. Clyburn
• Lauren Wilkie, Vice President of Programs Transitions Homeless Center
• Mike Young, Director of Capacity Building PASOs Programs

Complete Count Committees are volunteer organizations established to increase awareness of and motivate residents to respond to the 2020 Census. Among other activities, CCC’s are charged with creating strategies to conduct outreach in geographic areas of low response as well as among populations with low response rates.  Success of the census depends on community involvement at every level.
Participation in the 2020 Census is vitally important.  As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, our nation gets just one chance each decade to count its population. The U.S. census counts every resident in the United States. It is mandated by Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution and takes place every 10 years. The census can shape many different aspects of your community. The data collected by the census determine the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives (a process called apportionment) and is also used to distribute billions in federal funds to local communities. Every year, more than $675 billion goes toward hospitals, fire departments, schools, roads, and more.
“As the U.S. Census is conducted next year, ensuring our city, this region and our state have complete counts is critically important,” said Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin. “We look forward to Columbia’s Complete Count Committee encouraging all of our residents to participate in what will be a truly influential endeavor.”

For more information on the 2020 Census, please visit ||

City Recap

Pictured above:
Mayor Steve Benjamin and Ashley D. Bell, Region IV Administrator for the SBA

Strategic Alliance Memorandum Signing Ceremony

On Tuesday, April 9, 2019, the City of Columbia's Office of Business Opportunities (OBO) along with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) held a Strategic Alliance Memorandum Signing Ceremony.

The purpose of the strategic alliance memorandum signing is to develop a formal relationship with organizations to strengthen and expand business development in the local area. This will include the sharing of resources, training, co-collaboration of events, and assists in bringing the tools each organization has to South Carolina’s 407,000 small businesses.

Signed, Sealed & Agreed! Mayor Steve Benjamin and Ashley D. Bell, Region IV Administrator for the SBA, signed the strategic alliance.

City Held Fourth Minority Business Opportunity Conference

On Wednesday, April 10, 2019, the City of Columbia’s Office of Business Opportunities (OBO) held its fourth Minority Business Opportunity Conference (Minority BOC) at Senate’s End. Minority business owners had the opportunity to learn about City efforts to grow the number of companies that they make routine and emergency purchases from. Participants learned about the City’s procurement procedures & special programs, and met with City department staff that make purchasing decisions throughout the local area.

Melissa Lindler, Office of Business Opportunities director said, “The purpose of the Minority BOC was to support our Diversity Strategy by providing small businesses and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) with an opportunity to introduce their various products and services while directly interacting with City departments and key purchasing officials to learn more about the City’s procurement process.”
During the Minority BOC, 15 City departments met with over 150 local minority business owners. These owners were able to learn what each City department needed and then discuss products and/or services they are able to provide.

Utilities & Engineering, Public Works, Information Technology, Columbia Police, Columbia Fire and Public Relations, Media & Marketing were some of the departments in attendance. The services that local businesses offered varied greatly and some of those categories were janitorial services, advertising/marketing, construction, printing, environmental testing, landscaping, consulting, training and catering.

Participants were also given resource guides and other helpful information on available programs/resources that are accessible to them through the Office of Business Opportunities.

The Minority Business Opportunity Conference relates to the City Council’s Envision Columbia Vision Statement focus areas:
  • Focus area #1: Attracting & Retaining Talent
  • Focus area #5: Economic Prosperity Endless Possibilities
  • Focus area #7: Leading the Way in Innovative & High Quality Municipal Services
For more information, please contact the Office of Business Opportunities at (803) 545-3950.
Melissa Lindler, OBO's Director
pictured above:
Mayor Steve Benjamin, Judge DeAndrea Benjamin and daughters, Bethany and Jordan Grace; and Mayor Pro Tem Tameika Isaac Devine and daughters, Tamia and Jade, are all smiles at the 9th Annual Let’s Move! Columbia Easter Eggstravaganza

Mayor Steve Benjamin and the City of Columbia Held Annual Let’s Move! Columbia Easter Eggstravaganza
Mayor Steve Benjamin and his family along with the City of Columbia held the 9th annual Let’s Move! Columbia Easter Eggstravaganza on Saturday, April 20, 2019, from 2 -5 p.m. at the Robert Mills House, 1616 Blanding St.

This year’s event included eggs-ercises, face painting, a Bunny Scavenger Hunt, exhibitors, refreshments and more!
Mayor Benjamin presents winners of a raffle with a bike. The Columbia Chapter of The Links Incorporated provided a generous donation for bicycles for several lucky winners of the raffle. 
The Easter Bunny leads a dance-off with guests at the 9th Annual Let’s Move! Columbia Easter Eggstravaganza
Easter Bunny plays with a little girl at the 9th Annual Let’s Move! Columbia Easter Eggstravaganza
Fitness guru James Patrick shows kids that exercise can be fun through a series of eggs-ercises.
City of Columbia's Community Development
Celebrates National Community Development Week

Monday, April 22, 2019: Harvest Hope Food Bank
The City's Community Development Department had a community service day at Harvest Hope Food Bank to provide community lunches. 
Tuesday, April 23, 2019: Private Bus Tour 
The City's Community Development Department held a private bus tour to highlight the successful projects that were funded by the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) & HOME Investment 
Partnership Program (HOME). 
Wednesday, April 24, 2019: Community Development's First-Ever Luncheon
In recognition of National Community Development Week, the City's Community Development Department welcomed nearly 150 community leaders and Columbia residents to their first-ever Community Development Luncheon.

The luncheon was held at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Through the City's Community Development Week Luncheon, the Community Development department highlighted the topic of "Poor Credit History and Debt Preventing Economic Opportunities." There was a Speak Out session about the highlighted topic with special guest panelists:
  • Mayor Pro Tem Tameika Isaac Devine, City of Columbia City Council
  • Kathi Snipes, Security Federal Bank
  • Bernie Mazyck, South Carolina Association of Community & Economic Development
  • Sue Berkowitz, Appleseed Center for Legal Justice
“Our Community Development week luncheon provided an opportunity to highlight the projects funded with Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME) dollars and to thank our partners and stakeholders for their efforts with helping us to reach our goals and priorities set forth in our 5-Year Consolidated Plan,” said Gloria Saeed, Community Development director. “Guest were impressed by the many housing projects, infrastructure, economic and public service programs funded each year.”
The luncheon was a unique opportunity to connect with neighborhood leaders, local banks, financial institutions and credit counselors. Dr. Akil Ross, Sr., 2018 National Principal of the Year was the guest speaker.

Richland County School District One juniors & seniors participated in a 500-word essay contest on “How Credit will affect my plan for the next 10 years of my life.”
All winners were recognized at the Community Development Week luncheon.
  • First place winner was McKayla Shannon Moore, senior of Lower Richland High School received $500
  • Second place winner was Breanna Calhoun, senior of Lower Richland High School received $300
  • Third place winner was Skyler Lacey, senior of Richland One Middle College received $200
To learn more about the City of Columbia’s Community Development Department and their upcoming events, please visit || or call (803) 545-3373.
Councilman Howard E. Duvall, Jr.,
City of Columbia's
At-Large Councilmember 
Gloria Saeed,
City of Columbia's
Community Development Director 
Dr. Akil Ross, 2018 NASSP
National Principal of the Year
Kathi Snipes and Mayor Pro Tem Tameika Isaac Devine
Gloria Saeed, Dr. Akil, Skyler Lacey, Breanna Calhoun, McKayla Shannon Moore and Commissioner Jamie L. Devine, Chairman
Columbia Council of Neighborhoods (CCN)
held Annual Banquet & Awards Ceremony 
On Wednesday, April 24, 2019, CCN celebrated the achievements of neighborhoods with its annual banquet & awards ceremony. The ceremony was held at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center from 6 - 8 p.m. 

Attendees heard fantastic keynote messages from State Representatives Kambrell Garvin and Seth Rose.

Six awards were presented.

Friend of the Year - Josh Cruse, The Columbia Star

Award of Special Recognition - Valerie Washington, Northwood Hills

Best Neighborhood Program - Cottontown Art Crawl, Cottontown Neighborhood

Neighborhood Volunteers of the Year - Edith Miller (Burton Heights Standish Acres) and Ernest Stroman (Eva Trezevant Neighborhood)

Columbia Neighborhood Hall of Fame - Class of 2019 inductees - Cynthia Daniels (Edisto Court), Betsy Newman (Hyatt Park/ Keenan Terrace), and Will Thrift (Cottontown)

Neighborhood of the Year - Burton Heights Standish Acres
Josh Cruse, the Columbia Star received
 Friend of the Year Award.
Valerie Washington, Northwood Hills received the Special Recognition Award.
Cottontown Neighborhood was named the 2019 Best Neighborhood Program for the Cottontown Art Crawl. Cottontown President Will Thrift accepts the award.
Edith Miller (center) from Burton Heights Standish Acres was named the Neighborhood Volunteer of the Year award for 2019.
Ernest Stroman (center) from Eva P Trezevant was named the Neighborhood Volunteer of the Year award for 2019. 
Cynthia Daniels (center) was inducted into the Columbia Neighborhood Hall of Fame.
Betsy Newman (center) was inducted into the Columbia Neighborhood Hall of Fame.
Will Thrift (center) was inducted into the Columbia Neighborhood Hall of Fame.
Burton Heights Standish Acres was named the 2019 Neighborhood of the Year.
Keynote speakers
State Representatives,
Seth Rose and Kambrell Garvin
Pet Adoption


The Columbia Animal Shelter often need citizens to take home kittens and puppies for a better environ-
ment instead of the animal shelter.

The fostering time can be 1-3 weeks. There are also times when an individual animal is a bit scared and shy when being in new homes. They will need some time to adjust and become comfortable to their new homes. View all
Columbia's foster pets or visit our website.


City Community Connection 

City of Columbia #KnowYourCity Trivia Challenge

Each Wednesday, the Public and Media Relations Department post a question on Instagram about a current event or a fact about our City.

The first person to answer correctly wins a City of Columbia prize pack.


Columbia City Council

Vision Statement
Please click on the banners and logo below to learn more
about the City Council Vision Statement.

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