June 23, 2016 (Columbia, S.C.):  In response to the tragic events that have occurred in Orlando, the City of Columbia today announced the establishment of the Columbia Cares Fund, a fundraising effort that allows the people of Columbia to collectively support cities across the nation during times of tragedy. To make a donation to the fund, visit  
Donations to the Columbia Cares Fund will be sent collectively to the OneOrlando Fund as a gift from the people of Columbia. There will be no monies from the City of Columbia donated to the Columbia Cares Fund. The OneOrlando Fund was established by Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer to provide a way to help respond to the needs of the Orlando community now and in the time to come, after the effects of the Pulse tragedy. The funds will be administered by the Central Florida Foundation and will support the following areas: 
·         Nonprofits that are supporting the victims and families
·         The LGBTQ, Hispanic, faith and other affected communities
·         Underlying causes to this tragic event
·         Other related needs not yet anticipated 
“Last October, Columbia received an outpouring of support from other cities to help us recover from the flooding. The support and donations from these cities helped us begin the road to recovery,” notes City of Columbia, S.C., Mayor Steve Benjamin. “Now, it is our turn to give back. The Columbia Cares fund will allow Columbia to send a united donation to Orlando and help other cities that may face tragedies in the future.” 
Central Carolina Community Foundation, a nonprofit organization serving the Midlands, will assist the City of Columbia with the administration of the Columbia Cares Fund.  For over 30 years, the Community Foundation has been the trusted vehicle for philanthropy in the Midlands, connecting donors with areas of need every day.
“We are honored to assist the City of Columbia with the administration of this fund,” states JoAnn Turnquist, President and CEO of Central Carolina Community Foundation. “We have established a vetting process to identify the most effective and impactful nonprofits addressing disasters in cities and are looking forward to helping the people of Columbia give back to other cities in need.”
To make a donation to the Columbia Cares fund, visit or mail a check made payable to Central Carolina Community Foundation-Columbia Cares, 2711 Middleburg Drive, Suite 213, Columbia, SC 29204.


Mayor Steve Benjamin announced and presented the total funds collected, $8,000, for the Palmetto Health Foundation’s Bosom Buddies Fund. Mayor Benjamin, Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins, Samuel Tenenbaum, president of Palmetto Health Foundation and Katie Miller, director of Walk for Life/Race for Life joined together on Monday, Feb. 8, 2016 for the check presentation. 



Visit the Bull Street Redevelopment page for more details about this project. 
Noise and Lighting Presentation | Multi-Use Entertainment Venue - Feb. 2, 2016 
Noise and Lighting Studies



The results of the recent, City-supported Midlands Reality Check, conducted by the South Carolina Urban Land Institute, suggest that the Midlands’ governmental, community, business and educational leaders support the creation of a dense, urban, live-work environment in Columbia’s central business district. Thus, one of the goals was to identify one or more concepts which may lead to vertical development at and above City-owned garages.
Vertical development, or infill, is an urban planning approach that maximizes land use by building vertically on top of existing structures. It allows for more dense populations and can be designed to encourage an urban live-work environment. Vertical development also makes use of existing infrastructure, such as roads and utilities.
The City of Columbia believes vertical development will:
  1. Create new economic development opportunities
  2. Support and attract knowledge-based economy jobs which will assist in creating intellectual capital throughout the region
  3. Encourage development where infrastructure is already in place
  4. Improve the quality of life for the citizens of Columbia and the Midlands region by providing downtown residential and/or relevant commercial opportunities
The City issued an RFP in late 2014 seeking developers interested in making such a project a reality. The RFP project team recommended approval by City Council of the proposal submitted by Hallmark Homes International (“Hallmark” or the “Developer”). On May 19, City Council approved the grant of air rights to Hallmark relating to the development of up to six named City garages, and now that company is beginning its due diligence to determine if the projects can become a reality. The first project, if undertaken, is expected to be constructed above the Lady Street Garage.


The Banner 4.3 Utility Billing Migration Project was presented during the City Council Work Session on April 21, 2015. To learn more about the Utility Billing Upgrade, click HERE to download the presentation.   



The final All About Water and Sewer presentation given to City Council on March 10, 2015 is now available online at Links to the presentation and the supplemental chapters can be found below: 


Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine and the City of Columbia presented a check for $3,500 to the American Heart Association during the City Council meeting held this evening. The donated funds were from the proceeds from the City of Columbia’s Inaugural Go Red Fashion Show. The fashion show was held on March 20, 2015 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center. Local citizens, professional models and City of Columbia officials gathered together for a night of red fashions on the runway to help support those affected by heart disease, the #1 killer of women.

“The city of Columbia and the American Heart Association have had a relationship over the last few years and we have worked together to increase awareness of heart disease and prevention in the community. This year we wanted to step it up to the next level and the fashion show was a great way to heighten awareness and also raise money that could be used here in our community to help support a worthy cause,” Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine stated. Councilwoman was the host for the inaugural Go Red Fashion Show.

The fashion show featured celebrity models, which included local elected officials, a “City Kids” segment and attire from local retail sponsors. The grand finale featured fashions by Sergio Hudson, a nationally renowned designer and winner of “Styled to Rock”. Special Entertainment was provided by Comedian Nikita B. The Inaugural Go Red Fashion Show was a success and brought awareness to heart disease.

Approximately 10 retail sponsors, 21 volunteers, 6 makeup artists and 28 models either donated clothes or volunteered their time to support this one of kind event.

Councilwoman Devine commented, “The true spirit of Columbia’s residents and business owners was truly displayed during the planning for the fashion show. Everyone we contacted agreed to help and we garnered an overwhelming amount of pro bono services and in kind support for the event. We live in a city that is filled with caring people who support their community.”

To view the City’s 1st Go Red Fashion Show, visit the City of Columbia YouTube Page.




The City of Columbia and Richland School District One held their seventh annual “Together We Can Read” reading blitz on Thursday, Feb. 12, 2015 at 9 a.m. All third grade classes across Richland School District One participated.
“Together We Can Read” is a reading day program that encourages children to read and brings community leaders into the classrooms. More than one hundred community leaders from across Columbia read to 2,000 third-grade students.
“Bringing together government, business and neighborhood leaders from across Columbia to read to young students, Together We Can Read speaks volumes about our community’s commitment to our children,” said Mayor Steve Benjamin. “It’s a wonderful program and we’re proud to support it year after year.”
Studies show that children who do not read proficiently by the end of third grade are more likely to drop out of school. Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine spearheaded the “Together We Can Read” initiative after reading to a classroom of students with a group of other local leaders.
“In order to build a strong foundation, one must start with stable building blocks. This example applies to education as well. In order to prepare students for a successful academic journey, we must start early by giving them the tools they need to excel. Reading is one of those fundamental tools,” Councilwoman Devine commented.
This year’s book was “First, You Explore: The Story of the Young Charles Townes” written by Rachel Haynie and illustrated by Trahern Cook. Both the author and the illustrator participated in the initiative.
To view the 2015 TWCR newsletter, Download PDF.



Columbia City Council was presented with the Let’s Move! Gold Medalist banner from the National League of Cities at its regular meeting on Tuesday, February 10, 2015.
The City of Columbia was recognized at the National League of Cities’ (NLC) annual conference in Austin, Texas for achieving gold medals in all five Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC) goal areas—the highest distinction a community can receive.
Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC) is a major component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s comprehensive Let’s Move! initiative which is dedicated to solving the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation.
Medals are awarded to local elected officials based on achievements in each of the following five goal areas:
  • Goal I: Start Early, Start Smart: Promoting best practices for nutrition, physical activity, and screen time in early care and education settings
  • Goal II: My Plate, Your Place: Prominently displaying MyPlate in all municipal or county venues where food is served
  • Goal III: Smart Servings for Students: Expanding access to meal programs before, during and after the school day, and/or over summer months.
  • Goal IV: Model Food Service: Implementing healthy and sustainable food service guidelines that are aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
  • Goal V: Active Kids at Play: Increasing opportunities for physical activity
Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine was also presented with an award for her dedication to Let’s Move! Columbia and to improving the health of citizens in the City of Columbia.
At its annual conference in Austin, the National League of Cities recognized Councilwoman Devine in the “Most Dedicated Local Elected Official Award” category.
The City of Columbia is among an elite group of 24 cities and counties out of approximately 500 cities, town and counties across the nation that have earned five gold medals as a result of their leadership and dedication to ending childhood obesity and improving the health of their residents.


To celebrate the accomplishments of local architectural,construction and rehabilitation projects, Historic Columbia Foundation held its annual Preservation Awards Luncheon on Thursday, May 8, 2014, at 701 Whaley. The City of Columbia received one of these awards for the restoration of Council Chambers.
The restoration of the third floor council chambers in City Hall began as a small project intended to repair historic plaster and paint. As City of Columbia staff removed ceiling tiles,they uncovered a long-hidden skylight, prompting City Council to increase the project’s scope. The final restoration came to also include new lighting, a new audio/visual system and the complete restoration of the historic skylight.
Previous renovations to Council Chambers had severely damaged the original plaster ceiling and parts of the walls; the specialists in historic plaster restoration at Dillon Construction addressed structural concerns, restored damaged plaster and replicated missing decorative elements to bring the room back to its original appearance. The project was completed with a historically-sensitive color palette and subtly selected modern bench and carpet fabrics.
For decades Historic Columbia has recognized local projects that have maintained or added to the historical, architectural and cultural heritage throughout Columbia and Richland County by presenting recent preservation projects with awards in Preservation Leadership, Preservation/Restoration, Adaptive Use and New Construction in a Historic Context.