CoMo200, Events, Get involved

Get a peek at a park and mark your calendar WAY ahead

Get out your 2021 calendar and mark it now. Really. The celebration of Columbia’s bicentennial is set for May 2021 and last week, the design for a park expansion set to mark the CoMo200 celebration was given the OK by The Downtown Leadership Council.

Not so fast. The plan still needs approval by the Columbia City Council. The plan will come before the city council on May 6.

Here’s a peek at the proposed park.

Already parking has surfaced as a potential problem with the park plan. According to this coverage published on April3, 2019 by ABC17News.com, a public comment on the proposed plan states the owner of the historic Columbia Ice House at the corner of Providence and Broadway wants to preserve more parking spaces along Providence Road.

The land where the disputed parking is located is owned by the city, the article notes.

Set to complain the city is wasting money on parks? Think again. The city purchased the land for $1 million, but the park development will be privately funded.

Wondering what the heck CoMo200 is?

Here’s the skinny.

  • Ongoing — The taskforce has been meeting monthly. See this city page for meeting times. All meetings of the entire taskforce are open to the public.
  • The members of the taskforce have changed.
  • A Facebook page and website have been developed. Working groups to collect content and plan publicity and events have been working.
  • November 2018 — A kickoff event was held to mark the founding of Smithton, a settlement which moved due to a lack of water and renamed itself Columbia.
  • Here’s a pdf of the speech Mayor Brian Treece gave at the event which outlines the founding of Smithton.
  • February 2018 — Members to the taskforce to plan the celebration for Columbia’s 200th anniversary were named in February 2018.
  • December 2017 –A resolution creating the taskforce approved by city council. It outlined the purpose and plans of the group.

Sparkle or sputter? It’s up to you.

Here’s the greatest danger to the celebration of Columbia’s bicentennial: You. Yup. If you don’t get involved, it won’t be the celebration we all want.

Every person on the taskforce and the working groups is a volunteer. The History Working Group, of which I’m a member, is open to ideas and volunteers.

Got something, someone, someplace that should be remembered as part of the celebration? Let me know here, go to the website and sign up or check out the Facebook page.

The History Working Group meets at 5 p.m. the third Tuesday of the month in City Hall Conference Room C. Or send me an email. A tweet. A text message. A smoke signal. (Just kidding about the smoke signal.)

Columbia’s history is all about you.

 

Apartments, Black History, Columbia Historic Preservation Commission, Events, Get involved, Historical Homes

Meeting Saturday: Saving my father’s bookcase

On Saturday, April 6, you’re invited to help write Columbia’s action plan for historic preservation at a meeting from 10 – 11:45 a.m. It will be held in the historic J.W. “Blind” Boone House at 10 N. Fourth Street. Free coffee and snacks will start the event at 9:45 a.m.

It’s a chance to be heard by the Historic Preservation Commission members and help write how we as residents of Columbia want to preserve our history.

So, what do you think should be the city’s priorities? How do you think historic preservation could benefit you? Reply here or on the city’s Historic Preservation Commission’s Facebook page.

Why this is important: My father’s bookcase

For me, historic preservation comes back to my father’s bookcase. When my brothers and I were cleaning out my mother’s house, long after my father had died, one of them held up this battered bookcase/table combination. It didn’t look like much. It was painted a generic white. Clearly, it had seen better days. But just before my brothers tossed it into the dumpster, I said, “I think Dad made that in shop in high school.” We all stopped. “Really? I didn’t know that,” one of my brothers said. “Yeah, I think so,” I said.

We kept it. That’s what historic preservation is all about to me. It wasn’t the bookcase itself. There are lots of small white bookcases in the world. But it was the fact that my father made it — and trust me he wasn’t a master craftsman when he made that bookcase. It gave us a chance to remember and talk about a man who loved and cared for his family the best way he knew how, working long hours, two jobs and repairing everything himself.

Columbia’s bookcases

    • If you were around in 2000/2001, you may remember we almost lost Stephens Park to development. Instead, a city government-citizen partnership provided the push and funding to allow the purchase of this land for one of our city’s most beautiful parks.
    • Or maybe you recall the near loss in 2013 of the Neidermeyer Apartments
    • We’ll be holding the meeting one of the city’s most important historic preservation wins, a journey that took 16 years, the J.W. “Blind” Boone House.

If we’d lost the Boone house, we would have lost the reminder of a man who was born in 1864, the child of a contraband former slave and a Union army bugler. Boone went on to tour the country as a classical and ragtime composer and musician becoming one of the richest men in Boone County before his 1927 death. 

What “bookcases” in Columbia do you want to save? How can the HPC better serve you? What partners should the Commission be seeking?

Let’s have coffee on Saturday and talk about it. I’ll be there to tell you more about my Dad.