Revitalization under way in Columbiana
The revitalization project is close to full funding for its first year.
By D.A. WILKINSON
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
COLUMBIANA — Columbiana got hot the first thing Monday morning.
With the temperature and humidity high, city workers began to tear up the sidewalk around the traffic circle in the middle of the town.
It’s the first step in a revitalization program, according to Roberta Myers, who is directing the program and who runs the Renovation, Restoration and Beautification program, an arm of the Columbiana Area Chamber of Commerce.
She has also run Roberta’s Gallery of Fine Arts at 8 S. Main St., since 2002.
The project will include new sidewalks, low walls designed to be used as seats, and landscaping, she said.
“We’re trying to revive the village back to its original glory,” Myers said.
Columbiana is no longer a village, but Myers said that the phrase “the village” now means the heart of the historic community. The historical marker located on the traffic circle says Columbiana dates to 1805.
The work that has begun downtown will spread out through the community with more seating, planters and historical markers, Myers said. “We’ll go as far as the money lets us.”
Some $61,000 has been raised toward the first year’s work, which is expected to cost about $75,000. The city’s community foundation has pledged an additional $10,000 toward the first phase.
She expects the project will take a total of four years.
“We’re still seeking funds,” she said.
The curbs around the traffic circle were worn down.
“The old look needed a face-lift,” Myers said.
The Columbiana Cinema on the circle is still undergoing restoration but when finished will be a huge draw to the city, she said.
Malls, she added, are no longer the draw they once were.
Columbiana years ago had been a center for antique sales. That’s died down and other businesses, including a spa, have moved in.
Myers said the plan was not to favor shops but part of a push by community leaders to bring more businesses of all kinds to Columbiana.
Carol Cobbs, the chamber president and the director of the Columbiana library, said that chamber is looking at other ways to draw more people to the city. One step will be revising the chamber’s Web site.