An upcoming drop-in event aims to re-introduce a vision for a sustainable, inclusive tourism economy in Lower Richland.
In 2018, the Richland County Conservation Commission (RCCC) developed the Lower Richland Tourism Plan (LRTP). Capitalizing on the drawing power of Congaree National Park as a hub for nature tourism, the LRTP is intended to build on natural and heritage resources in Lower Richland and in turn, benefit the County as a whole.
The public is invited to the drop-in, hosted by the RCCC, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 15 in the third-floor atrium of the Richland County Administration Building, 2020 Hampton St., Columbia. Informational handouts and presentations will be available, and County staff and RCCC commissioners will be on hand to answer questions related to the tourism plan.
Free parking is available in the lot behind the Administration Building, accessible from Lady Street between Harden and Laurens streets. Metered street parking is also available. Visitors must enter the building via the front entrance at Hampton and Harden streets. As this is an indoor event, masks are required to attend.
The LRTP: Developing a Vision
Work on the LRTP began in 2016 as an outcome of recommendations from the Lower Richland Master Plan. Development centered on engaging economic development around the national park, which in 2019 attracted nearly 160,000 visitors, resulting in a $9.6 million boost to the local economy.
To gather input for the tourism plan, Richland County involved nearly 200 local stakeholders who took part in community meetings and interviews.
The County and stakeholders sought to highlight local nature and heritage assets, such as the Wateree River and preserved bottomland habitat in the area. The LRTP also aims to ensure that Lower Richland residents benefit through:
- Increased visitation to local businesses
- Interpretation of local historical sites and heritage resources
- Increased open space, access to the natural environment and community services, which also benefit visitors
After the LRTP was completed in 2018, the County’s Conservation Commission requested the plan’s acceptance by Richland County Council. However, because of other priorities, including ongoing flood recovery efforts and the County’s response to COVID-19, Council has not considered the plan until now.
In order for the LRTP to go forward, County Council must accept the plan as complete and forward it to the County’s Planning Commission for consideration. County Council has final say as to how and when the LRTP is adopted.
For more information on the LRTP, contact John McKenzie at 803-576-2083 or firstname.lastname@example.org.