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FLOOD UPDATE: 20,000 enjoy free zoo admission following historic flood

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Staff Reports
Published Oct. 13, 2015

More than 20,000 residents of Richland and Lexington counties received free admission to Riverbanks Zoo in the three days following South Carolina's historic flooding.

Of the 29,345 guests who passed through turnstiles between Wednesday and Friday, 22,712 received complimentary admission. Friday's attendance of 13,752 was the single biggest day in zoo history.

"I have not seen anything of this magnitude in my 40-plus years at Riverbanks," said Satch Krantz, president and CEO. "Our thoughts are with all who are suffering. It was our hope that reopening the Zoo would give our guests some sense of normalcy and put smiles on their faces."

Despite Riverbanks location on the lower Saluda River, the Zoo and Garden sustained little damage and all the animals remained safe.

SCDOT reopens I-95 northbound lanes
The S.C. Department of Transportation this morning reopened the northbound lanes of Interstate 95 that had been closed since last week because of the flood. This action now opens I-95 completely in South Carolina in both directions. Work began Saturday to repair 18 bridges in that 13-mile closed section.

City to answer questions about flood repairs, rebuilding permits
The first of two open houses to answer questions about Columbia’s flood repair and rebuilding permitting process will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. today at the C.R. Neal Dream Center, 2430 Atlas Road. The second event will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Kilbourne Park Baptist Church, 4205 Kilbourne Road.

The open houses are designed to answer homeowner and contractor questions about the permitting application process. Spanish-speaking interpreters will also be available. Residents also will be able to learn whether their property is in a flood plain, pick up the permit application packet, and have any questions regarding the application process answered.

City floodplain office moves to temporary location
The City of Columbia's floodplain office will be temporarily located in the Customer Service Lobby on the first floor of 1136 Washington St. Staffers will provide walk-up assistance to anyone needing to start flood repair work in the City. The service will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Disaster recovery centers to open in Florence, Kershaw counties
Two disaster recovery centers are open in Florence and Kershaw counties. The centers will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. Representatives from the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Small Business Administration and other agencies will be at the centers to explain disaster assistance programs and help survivors apply for aid.

The Florence County center is at Holiness Conference Center, 620 Ron McNair Blvd., Lake City. In Kershaw County, the center is at Blaney Fire Department, 2344 U.S. 1 South, Elgin.

Time Warner donates cash, air time to Red Cross
Time Warner Cable has donated $50,000 in cash and $250,000 in local media to support the American Red Cross recovery efforts. The donation will assist local families requiring food, water, shelter and other critical services.

Comet resumes regular service
The COMET today resumed regular service hours on all routes except Route 88 Crosstown. Service on all routes running will begin and end at their regular scheduled times. Though Route 47 Lower Richland does not usually run on weekends, services have been extended to run this weekend only. All routes will operate fare-free until Sunday. DART service is available for those with disabilities.

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