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Columbia Main Street District marks growth, looks ahead

Jason Thomas //November 22, 2023//

Columbia Main Street District marks growth, looks ahead

Jason Thomas //November 22, 2023//

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The Main Street District, also known as City Center Partnership, celebrated 22 years of the organization’s existence recently at an annual meeting.

With its biggest crowd to date, the MSD touched on past accomplishments and future goals, presented the Chairman’s Awards, and announced a partnership with Peak Drift Brewing, according to a news release.

This year the MSD announced the expansion of clean and safe services to both sides of Elmwood Avenue, from Bull Street to Lincoln Street and is exploring more ways to expand its reach beyond district lines, the release stated. It also added an Evening Outreach Ambassador to work specifically with the chronically unsheltered population.

District connectivity has also been a large topic of discussion, focusing on ways to improve pedestrian access among neighboring districts and exploring more formal frameworks for working together, the release stated.

The district has also put more emphasis on marketing and branding, noting that its social media following and engagement has increased consistently over the last couple of years, according to the release. Over the next year, the community can also expect to see increased placemaking efforts with updated street pole banners, electrical boxes and trash wraps debuting a refreshed brand, created by local designer, Cait Maloney, the release stated.

With more residential and hotel development on the horizon, there is more pedestrian activity in the district than ever before, the release stated. The MSD acknowledged the need to look beyond Main Street at surrounding areas like Sumter Street, Assembly Street and side streets for development and placemaking, which will be critical to the district’s future success.

Chairman’s Awards

Sharon Bryant, regional executive vice president for First Citizens Bank and board chair for the Main Street District, presented the first 2023 Chairman’s Award to Martha Fowler, property owner in the 1600 block, one of the founding board members of City Center Partnership and active committee member, according to the release.

The second 2023 Chairman’s Award was presented to the Columbia Museum of Art, one of the catalysts for growth in the district and one of the many assets that make the district a destination, the release stated. Bryant expressed her gratitude to both award recipients for their dedication to the district and their role in the district’s forward momentum.

The Main Street District encompasses the 36-block area bounded by Gervais, Elmwood, Assembly, and Marion Streets in Columbia.