2006-06-23 / Front Page

Forest Acres visions of the future

By John Dixon

One June 13, 2006, Bill Steiner presented Forest Acres City Council with a ten year vision for the City of Forest Acres, and it was impressive. The Commission has spent several months gathering information from the community regarding weak and strong points of the city.

What they discovered was that most residents loved the small town atmosphere and the beautifully preserved green spaces along side of urban amenities.

What the public did not like was the lack of identity of the place they love and call home. Some traffic patterns and major intersections were of huge concern to many people, and most wanted to see the four city parks enhanced.

Forest Acres residents are proud of their city and the fine restaurants and businesses but want to see more restaurants and more community events and festivals to showcase the fine points of their community.

Perhaps the most troubling problem is that being landlocked between the City of Columbia and Greater Richland County, visitors often have no idea when they have entered or left the City of Forest Acres. The city even shares two zip codes with the City of Columbia and thus mail must be addressed to Forest Acres residents using Columbia as the city address.

One of the immediate steps the visioning committee plans to take is posting a prominent display of gateway signs touting entry to and departure from the City of Forest Acres.

They also want to "complement these gateway signs with uniform street signs throughout the community. In this way they hope to establish a more definite sense of unique identity.

The committee recommends a master plan for development which identifies the desirable things about the city and enforces ordinances to actively preserve those things as the city develops.

Not only do they want to enhance the city parks and institute a tree replacement program, they envision walking and jogging trails within the city, more bike lanes and better traffic flow at major intersections such as Beltline and Forest Drive and Forest Drive and Trenholm Road.

In short, the next ten years in Forest Acres look to be a period of controlled growth, enhanced city identity, and preservation of the small town ambience that drew residents to Forest Acres to begin with. It is indeed an ambitious plan, but it is well laid out and easily doable given the civic minded, hard working citizenry of Forest Acres. They know their city is a gem well worth preserving.

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