The PostScript

Mayor Benjamin delivers State of the City Address at Columbia College

Mayor+Benjamin+delivers+the+2018+State+of+the+City+Address%0APhoto+credit%3A+Yasmine+Keeley%0A%0A
Mayor Benjamin delivers the 2018 State of the City Address
Photo credit: Yasmine Keeley

Mayor Benjamin delivers the 2018 State of the City Address Photo credit: Yasmine Keeley

Mayor Benjamin delivers the 2018 State of the City Address Photo credit: Yasmine Keeley

Lauren Fleming, co-editor

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The location for  Mayor Steve Benjamin’s Jan. 30 delivery of his 2018 State of the City Address for Columbia, S.C. was strategically placed at Columbia College.

This was the first time this address had been delivered at Columbia College, having previously been held at the University of South Carolina. The address crowd filled the 375 seats in Cottingham Theatre.

The address was strategically located on the college campus in the North Main corridor of Columbia, as North Main has been deemed by The State newspaper as the city’s next big attraction  and, according to his remarks, the mayor agrees.

“Look, when The State newspaper calls the North Main corridor the city’s up-and-coming hotspot and a hub for small, local business, it’s time to recognize that something special is happening here,” Benjamin said. “This isn’t happening by chance, but by choice.”

As a result of efforts by Councilwoman Tamika Isaac Devine and Councilman Sam Davis, the North Main community brought in $8 million in home improvement loans and $2 million in small business loans and grants.

A $50 million investment will launch major improvements to North Main assets such as Hyatt Park, Greenview Park and the Busby Street Community Resource and Training Center. North Columbia will also be opening up a community-owned grocery store as early as 2019 on Beltline Boulevard to help provide an accessible, healthy and affordable option in an area that’s food insecure, Benjamin said.

Benjamin also enforced the importance of cities in the progression of the whole country, with 85 percent of citizens and 87 percent of jobs held in metropolitan areas. This assertion leaves Columbia in the lead, being named one of the 30 best small cities, according to National Geographic, and being given the highest score in South Carolina from the Human Rights Campaign.

The mayor also addressed other issues such as healthy living by launching a new city-wide campaign to lose 25,000 pounds between March 1 and June 1, #ColumbiaWeighsIn.

Throughout the address, Benjamin reiterated the importance of infrastructure, innovation and inclusion, as he said these are part of the new role of a thriving city. Bike lanes, affordable housing and new ways to get students to college to be ready for a 21st century economy are all a part of that picture. The city will aim to create a better environment for all people, according to Benjamin

“No matter how times change, we know the glue that holds us together is love. We live in a time where anything is possible,” Benjamin said. “This community is on the brink of a transformational year.”

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Mayor Benjamin delivers State of the City Address at Columbia College