At 9:30 on the crisp fall morning of October 17, the City of Columbia celebrated the grand opening of its Water and Wastewater Distribution facility, the City’s first project designed to LEED Gold standards, situated on a former brownfield site on West Beltline Boulevard.
In attendance were the Honorable Mayor Benjamin, the Honorable Reverend Edward McDowell, Jr., councilmember representing District Two, City of Columbia City Manager Teresa Wilson, local neighborhood leader Diane Wylie, Councilman Duvall and Ms. Devine representing City Council, and many other members of the community.
Guided tours were provided by Bob Probst, AIA, with City of Columbia, and WTS Associate Principal, Gene Bell.
The project’s positive impact on the environment and the community was clearly expressed by today’s speakers, including the Mayor, who said “This is a classic example of what we can do when we work together and we dream big. [This is an example of what we can do] when we focus on neighborhood revitalization … on sustainability … on preservation and adaptive reuse, and when we focus on just being smart in what we do. This is what happens when you take a piece of property that’s seen better days and decide you’re going to work together and use it to benefit the entire community.” Major Benjamin continued, “This is thinking big. This is thinking about not where Columbia wants to be in 2017 but in 2037. We’re making a commitment to preserving this wonderful Earth…”
Reverend McDowell stated, “It is grand and glorious that this corridor begins to shine. And so, we continue the process and the momentum…”
City Manager Teresa Wilson followed, addressing some of the many community benefits the project brings. “I’m amazed that all of our water and wastewater management, emergency crews, technicians, meter readers, and everyone who gets that hard work in the field done, will be based right here. It’s such an unobtrusive, beautiful facility in the midst of our community.”
Wilson continued by noting additional benefits:
- Revitalization of an area that has a high vacancy rate
- Removal of hazardous materials and hazardous, vacant buildings
- Improvement of light pollution
- Improvement of the site render to include a large wall to block the site from surrounding homes
- Trees planted to reduce the “heat island effect” of a large paved site and to visually improve the streetscape
- Improvement of storm water drainage
- Proof that adaptive reuse can be done in a very positive way
- $6 Million invested in local and women-owned businesses right here in Columbia
Local Neighborhood Leader Diane Wylie concluded the program saying, “I see the beauty of this building and what it’s going to do for our neighborhood … Crime has decreased just because this building has been built.”
To read more about details of the renovation and addition, click here.