November 10, 2004
9:00 AM - City Council Chambers
3rd Floor City Hall - 1737 Main Street

The Columbia City Council met for a Work Session on Wednesday, November 10, 2004, in the City Hall Council Chambers at 1737 Main Street, Columbia, South Carolina.  The Honorable Mayor Robert D. Coble called the meeting to order at 9:07 a.m.  The following City Council members were present: The Honorable E.W. Cromartie, II, The Honorable Anne M. Sinclair, The Honorable Hamilton Osborne, Jr., The Honorable Sam Davis, The Honorable Tameika Isaac Devine and The Honorable Daniel J. Rickenmann.  Also present were Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., City Manager and Ms. Erika D. Moore, City Clerk.


A.  Marketing the New Economy Ė The Honorable Mayor Robert D. Coble

Mayor Robert D. Coble stated that the City of Columbia has a unique opportunity with the University of South Carolina Research Campus, the Next Energy initiative and Engenuity SC to market and promote this region in terms of new technology.  He said that everyone should be in agreement on how to proceed so that all areas of Columbia can benefit economically.

Councilman Hamilton Osborne stated that in order to raise this community to the next level, we must attract more jobs that will create new wealth.  He agreed that there is a need to produce coherent marketing materials for the City of Columbia.  Mr. Osborne proposed that the City prepare a Request for Qualifications to be distributed to the public relations industry in Columbia in hopes of finding a regional firm to develop a coordinated package of marketing documents.

Councilman Sam Davis stated that the City of Columbia must determine what we want to do and how we want to get it done.  He said that he was concerned about the areas of the city that some argue are not marketable.   He stated that he was primarily interested in marketing small retail. Mr. Davis agreed that there needed to be a coordinated economic development initiative.  He suggested that the marketing materials represent the uniqueness of the City of Columbia as a whole.

Councilwoman Tameika Isaac Devine reminded the members of City Council of the recent marketing report that was given by the Office of Economic Development and the Development Corporations.  She suggested that prior to releasing a Request for Qualifications, City Council should refer back to that plan to determine whom we are targeting.  Ms. Devine proposed that Mr. Gambrellís Economic Development presentation be revamped to fit this current need.

Councilwoman Anne M. Sinclair urged the members of City Council not to lose site of the plan prepared by the Development Corporations.  She said that the role of the Development Corporations is to strengthen the quality of life throughout the neighborhoods and commercial areas.  Ms. Sinclair agreed that Engenuity SC could be the vehicle for this plan and help to strengthen the opportunity for regional cooperation.

Councilman Daniel J. Rickenmann stated that too many people are marketing the Columbia region and this has made a negative impact.  He agreed that someone was needed to bring this all together and to form a co-op.  He said that State Government could also participate.  Mr. Rickenmann said that marketing dollars should make a bigger impact to benefit the entire community.

Councilman E. W. Cromartie, II, said that City Council needed to implement whatís being discussed.  He said that City Council should implement this plan and see it through.  He recommended that the City Manager draft a timeline for this process.  He proposed that the City be marketed on such historic moments as the Ray Charles performance here in the City of Columbia.

Mayor Coble stated that he would work with Mr. Charles P. Austin, Sr., City Manager, Mr. Jim Gambrell, Director of Economic Development, Engenuity SC and Ms. Leshia Utsey, Public Relations Director to prepare a discussion memo that would encompass the ideas discussed here today.

A1.  ** Township Auditorium Ė Ms. Sally Roach, The Township Auditorium Executive Director

Ms. Sally Roach, Township Auditorium Executive Director, introduced Mr. Jack Mills, Mr. Ron Thompson, Mr. Steve Larkin and Mr. John Whitehead as four (4) of the board members. She told the members of City Council that last week she sent over a proposal for the renovation of The Township Auditorium and purchase of land to the City of Columbia and Richland County.  She stated that the cost estimate was reduced from approximately $30 million to $24 million to include land acquisition.  Ms. Roach announced that The Township is approaching its 75th Anniversary.  She asked that City Council consider providing $12 million dollars to assist in renovating The Township.   She said that funding would be used to purchase additional land, to create a new lobby area, to bring the building up to code, and to uplift the backstage area.  She admitted that lots of patchwork repairs have been completed, but itís time to look at everything thatís wrong and bring it back to where it should be.  Ms. Roach said that the improvements would allow The Township to expand their base to national promoters and to better serve our local community.  She said that the land acquisition no longer includes the entire block, but has been reduced to only what is needed to create a new lobby area on the east side.  She said that Richland County has agreed to purchase the entire block if City Council agrees to come on board with this plan.  She told the members of Council that the Foundation Board would become more active in fund raising to help defray cost of other purchases and operations. She suggested that the City of Columbia provide funding through Hospitality Taxes with a 20-year bond for $24 million.

Mr. John Whitehead, Board Member, told the members of City Council that he also served as an appointee to the Arts Task Force. He said that The Township was the crown jewel for the entire arts facility proposal.  He said that according to the report, there is a need for a 1,500 and 500-seat auditorium that isnít tied in with the University or the School District.  Mr. Whitehead said that The Township is being renovated to address the need for a 1,500-seat auditorium, but not the need for a 500-seat auditorium or the concept of an Arts Village.

Mr. Steve Larkin, Board Member, told the members of City Council that we have a tremendous opportunity to improve The Township Auditorium.  He said that the renovations would increase the stage capacity to attract Broadway performances.

There was a consensus of Council to request additional information relating to the schedule of events, attendance records and revenue generated during 2004 and any projections for 2005.  City Council also requested a projected business plan that outlines how The Township would operate after renovations are completed. Consideration of this request is deferred until December 8, 2004, at the City Council Retreat.

· City Council adjourned the Work Session at 10:07 a.m. to convene the Zoning Public Hearing.

· City Council reconvened the Work Session at 12:07 p.m.

Upon motion by Mr. Rickenmann, seconded by Mr. Cromartie, Council voted unanimously to go into Executive Session at 12:07 p.m. for the discussion of Items B. through E. as amended.


B. Discussion of negotiations incident to proposed contractual arrangements
- Township Auditorium
 This item was discussed during the Work Session. (See Item A1.)

- Banking Services
  This item was discussed in Executive Session no action was taken.

C. Discussion of compensation of an employee
  This item was discussed in Executive Session no action was taken.

  D. **Receipt of legal advice which relates to a pending, threatened or potential claim
- **Mr. Charles Gary
  This item was discussed in Executive Session no action was taken.
  E. **Discussion of employment of an employee
  This item was discussed in Executive Session no action was taken.

· City Council adjourned the meeting at 1:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by:
Erika D. Moore
City Clerk