Blythewood Roads Get Second Look

BLYTHEWOOD – An ad hoc committee of local residents, appointed by Town Administrator John Perry, met June 13 to refine the list of Blythewood road projects that had previously been prioritized to receive funding from the new Richland County Penny Tax revenue. Bill Wiseman, Blythewood’s representative on the County’s Penny Tax watchdog or advisory committee, will chair the local committee.

Wiseman said things have changed on Blythewood’s list of priorities established by the County several years ago. Blythewood Planning Consultant Michael Criss explained to the group that Town Administrator John Perry wants to reallocate some of the tax revenue that was earmarked for certain projects that are no longer a priority for the Blythewood area.

Criss suggested that, instead of spending $21 million to widen Blythewood Road all the way from Syrup Mill to I-77 as prioritized, the widening could be limited to between Syrup Mill Road and Surreywood Lane. He said that would help ready the Fulmer Road intersection for a new school, perhaps another public safety station and other things planned for the area. Another $??????? of the $21 million could be reallocated for the town’s ‘complete street’ plan to connect a grid of streets between Blythewood and McNulty roads in the downtown area to make it more pedestrian and biker friendly. Another $??? could be reallocated for three roundabouts at the intersections of Blythewood Road and Creech Road, Blythewood Road and Cobblestone and Langford Road and Sandfield Road.

Other projects of greater priority are a new connector from Creech Road to Main Street and sidewalks on Blythewood Road from I-77 to Main Street/Wilson Blvd. and a bikeway along Blythewood Road just to Fulmer Road.

Wiseman will take the committee’s recommendations for Blythewood project re-prioritization back to the County committee. He suggested to the Blythewood committee that, in designating priorities, they consider improvements as they affect the entire county, not just Blythewood.

“There has to be a systematic approach to the whole county area,” Wiseman told the group. “Our prioritization must be based on sound logic or it will become politicized.”

Other members of the Blythewood committee are Malcolm Gorge, Mike Maginn and Bill McCoy. A fifth board member, Sean King, did not attend the meeting.

Wiseman said the next County meeting was June 17 and that he would keep the Blythewood group informed of the Penny Tax Committee’s actions.

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