Submitted by COR Member, Rosalind Elliot.
Yet again COR has pulled off an amazing event. This past Tuesday April 19, 2016, COR held its second Emerging Columbia series where young leaders across the city and beyond had the opportunity to learn about the development of our regions rivers. The event was kicked off with food and mingling in true COR fashion. After the social hour was over, we delved into the key issues that brought us all together. Meghan led the way in moderating a panel discussion which included Mayor Elise Partin of Cayce, Bill Stangler of the Congaree Riverkeeper, Mike Dawson of The River Alliance, and Karen Kustafik of the City of Columbia. Each of these panelists have been hands on in some capacity to advocate for the welfare of our rivers and streams.
During the panel discussion, we learned about the state of the river and the impact of the 1000-year flood in our regions. To our dismay, over 4,000 tons of debris were removed and the damage assessed was $100 million. There was a tremendous effort from Cayce, West Columbia, and surrounding areas to assist Columbia in the clean-up effort. Unfortunately, there is still the possibility that more damage could be revealed later. Almost half of the total damages came from the repair of the canal. Now the focus is looking for an additional water source because it cost the city $40 million to repair a 60-foot section of the canal.
After learning all of this information, of course the audience had questions. The evening capped off with a Question & Answer from the audience where the audience asked some very futuristic questions about development. There were so many different points made and suggested ideas but I will leave you with this hint of what is to come. There will be a new design for a very prominent park. To learn more about the progress of the river, visit congareeriverkeeper.org and stay updated with our blog.