‘This is My Home’

Debra Scott stands outside the home where she grew up and where she has returned to live – the home she recently learned the Town had designs on ‘taking.’

Woman Shocked to Learn of Town’s Plans to ‘Take’ Property

BLYTHEWOOD – During the past year, the Ball Field Committee of Mayor J. Michael Ross has discussed ways to increase the number of fields at the Blythewood Park Rec Center as well as build new fields on 8 acres that Richland School District 2 owns behind Bethel-Hanberry Elementary School. Both sites are on Boney Road. On several occasions Bob Mangone, former chairman of the committee, has suggested that the three fields at the Rec Center could be expanded with the help of a government ‘taking’ of a 1.5-acre residential lot with two trailer homes that is adjacent to the current fields. Mangone said the trailers appeared to be vacant and that a records search by the Town’s attorney to find the owners of the property was unsuccessful.

Earlier this week, however, Debra Scott, who lives in one of the homes on the lot, called The Voice after reading in a recent issue of the newspaper about the Committee’s plans to possibly ‘take’ the lot and its homes through a government taking.

“I live in one of those homes,” Scott told The Voice in a phone conversation, “and my cousin lives in the other one. And nobody is going to take it from us. This property has been in my family for many generations, I don’t know how many. But I do know that my great grandmother Collette McDaniel grew up here, my grandmother, who was one of Collette’s 14 children grew up here, my mother Charlotte Young grew up here and she raised me right here in this house (the larger of the two trailer homes now sitting on the land.)”

Scott said no one from the town government had called her or left a note on her door in an effort to contact her. The Voice accepted an invitation from Scott to visit the property where she gave a tour of the lot and her home, which was immaculately tidy inside and out.

“There used to be a wood house right over there,” Scott said, pointing to a front corner of the wooded lot next to the Blythewood Park tennis courts, “and that house might have been there since the late 1800s; I’m not sure. That’s where my ancestors first lived. We tore it down not too long ago and had it hauled off. My mother moved into this house when I was born, and I was raised right here.”

After graduating from high school, Scott was married and she and her husband moved to Columbia where they bought a home that she still maintains. Her two daughters, Nikki and Chastity, have families and still live in Columbia.

“My mother lived here in this house until last year when she had to move into a care center. So I moved back,” Scott said. “I walk over to church at Bethel Baptist every Sunday morning just as I used to walk to Bethel School across the street when I was young,” she recalled with a smile.

Scott, who works for a care facility in West Columbia, said she doesn’t really know how long the property, which is in a family trust, has been the home place of the McDaniels. But she said it’s still the heart of the family. She said many relatives in Blythewood as well as those far flung from the home place, come back every few years for the occasions of funerals and family reunions.

“It’s nice being here next to the park,” she said. “My grandchildren like to go over and play there when they visit.”

Standing in the yard as she looked around the property, Scott reminisced, “It’s always been a nice safe place, and I’m near a lot of relatives and lifelong friends, and I have lots of memories. It’s my home. It’s the place all my relatives come back to. It means something to us and we don’t want it taken from us.”

Contacted by The Voice about Scott’s phone call, Mangone said he would be in touch with her soon.

“We certainly don’t want to take a property where someone lives and has so much history,” he said. “We were looking for more space for fields and just thought no one lived there. But that’s fine with us. We wish Ms. Scott well, and we’ll look elsewhere.”

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