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Columbia’s CCP: A Case Study

Background Context

City Profile

Columbia, South Carolina is one of the smaller of the Comprehensive Com-

munities

Program

sites.

Columbia

100,000 within a four county area with

has a population of approximately a population of 500,000. It is located

in the geographical center of South Carolina and is both the the capital, having been created in 1786 as an alternative to Charleston—a compromise to interior South Carolinians who

largest city and the then-capital were opposed to

the

capital

being

on

the

Atlantic

coast.

In

1805,

Columbia

was

incorporated

as a town and Civil War, but

in 1854 as a recovered as

city. The city was destroyed near the end of the a cotton manufacturing, agricultural, and indus-

trial center by the munity comprised

late nineteenth century. Today, it is of 54 percent whites and 44 percent

a multi-ethnic com- African-Americans,

with

the

remaining

two

percent

primarily

Asian

and

Pacific

Islanders.

Cities in South Carolina operate under one of three possible forms of city government: strong mayor, weak mayor, or city manager. Columbia oper- ates under a city manager form of government, although the mayor has ac- tively supported CCP efforts. Columbia is a center of higher education—the University of South Carolina (USC), Allan College, Benedict College, and Southern Lutheran Theological Seminary are all located there. The percent- age of citizens who own their homes in Columbia is declining and is now only 45 percent, compared to a national average of 65 percent. The average home in Columbia is valued at approximately $83,000, and citizens have a median income of $23,200. Approximately 20 percent of all families live below the poverty line, with 30 percent of African Americans below it.

Although, as noted below, active involvement with neighborhoods developed greatly during the mid-1980s, Columbia has emphasized comprehensive neighborhood development since the 1970s. Five community-based corpora- tions—Eau Claire Development Corporation, South Columbia Development Corporation, Columbia Development Corporation, Columbia Housing Corpo- ration, and TN Development Corporation—are involved in redevelopment ac- tivities throughout Columbia. The activities include the clean-up of public spaces, park improvement, and business associations. The original target neighborhoods for the Comprehensive Community Program (CCP) hold 26 percent of the city’s population: 73 percent of the residents in this subset are African-American and 26 percent are white.

BOTEC Analysis Corporation

2

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