Richland School District One has plans to build a single athletic field (soccer, JV football, and lacrosse use) and five tennis courts on the Dreher school campus. The approval process with the City started in earnest in August 2016, and this process has included multiple meetings with the Dreher Booster Club, District, and members of the surrounding neighborhoods.
The current application is for Residential Zoning, and the needed upgrades are proper for a residential zoning classification. As a point of reference, Dreher is asking for the same zoning classification currently granted to Hammond School.
Unfortunately, we are meeting significant and, at times, unfair resistance from the immediate neighbors and neighborhood councils. The District has held multiple meetings with the neighborhood leaders and neighbors who live adjacent to the school. During these meetings, the District has provided architectural drawings, lighting studies as well as pictures of the type of bleachers and other project plans that will be used on the site.
Over the course of the school year, the District has listened to the concerns of the neighbors, and the School Board recently approved changes in the design and use of the facility that will still allow the facility to serve the needs of the students. The compromises include:
Zoning: RS2 Residential Zoning, like Hammond (originally C1 Institutional)
Field Lights: 4 poles (reduced from original 6)
Field Light Usage: 9:00 p.m. curfew (no restrictions in original proposal)
Field Seating: 750 capacity (reduced from original 900)
Permanent Sound System: none (removed from original proposal)
Press Box: none (removed from original proposal)
Tennis Courts: 5 with 9:00 p.m. light curfew (no restrictions in original proposal)
Despite this good faith effort by the District, there are still concentrated objections by some neighbors who do not support expansion of facilities and they have rejected all of the proposed compromises.
Viewing A Similar Project
While we believe it is fine to disagree, we want to make sure the disagreement is based on correct information. The easiest example for everyone to see is the current construction at AC Flora. Dreher is scheduled to receive the same field currently under construction at AC Flora, so a quick visit will eliminate any fear that a stadium is being built. It is also important to note this project is not a situation of Dreher vs. Flora.
The District has approved and funded the projects for both schools, and the AC Flora Administration fully supports the Dreher project. The Dreher project will not take away anything being improved at AC Flora, and the AC Flora project will not take away anything that is scheduled for Dreher.
ATTEND The City Council Meeting
Columbia City Council will make the final determination on the zoning request to change from PUD to residential (RS2), and the residential designation is needed for the project to move forward. IT IS VITALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE HAVE A LARGE NUMBER OF PEOPLE ATTEND FROM ALL OF THE NEIGHBORHOODS WITHIN THE DREHER CLUSTER.
May 16, 2017
City Hall, 1737 Main St. (3rd floor)
Your attendance and participation at the meeting will show our support and demonstrate to the City that this zoning request will allow Dreher to move forward with the changing times and compete on a level playing field (literally and figuratively) with other schools in the greater Columbia area. In the absence of our collective presence, we run the risk of a single neighborhood dictating the future of Dreher.
CONTACT City Council Today
Please send emails of support to City Council before May 16. You can use the applicable email addresses below.
Mayor Steve Benjamin: email@example.com
Councilman Sam Davis: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilwoman Tameika Devine: email@example.com
Councilman Moe Baddourah: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councilman Howard Duvall: email@example.com
Councilman Ed McDowell: firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember, without the ability to move forward, Dreher will continue to be the only public school in the greater Columbia area without on-site athletic facilities.