Making my way back through my public e-mail account, I just got to this one that Mayor Bob sent me Sunday:
Brad, your editorial today about Dr. Harris Pastides was excellent. The City of Columbia and the University of South Carolina have one of the best, if not the best, town-gown relationships in the nation. Dr. Pastides has been an integral part of that success and will continue to strengthen our partnership. Under Dr. Sorensen’s leadership the University and the local community have achieved more than we could have dreamed. The research campus in Downtown Columbia was announced in 2003. In April of 2006, USC, the Guignard family and the City unveiled a master plan for the 500 acres in Downtown from Innovista to the waterfront. The first phase of Innovista with two buildings at the Horizon Center and the Discovery Center are nearly complete, as are the two parking garages financed by the City of Columbia and Richland County, representing an investment of over $140 million. Innovista will be the driving force in building a strong new economy with more jobs and an increase in our per capita income.
Another important strategy for transforming our economy is our Fuel Cell Collaborative. In 2008, we will build on our Fuel Cell District with the construction of one of the first hydrogen fueling stations in the Southeast. Next year, Columbia will host the National Hydrogen Association’s annual convention. Neither would be possible without the fuel cell expertise at USC. The University has been critical in developing a decade long regional strategy of increasing the number of our conventions and visitors. The Convention Center and the Colonial Center have both exceeded expectations, and could only have been done with all governments working together. Mike McGee deserves great credit for the Colonial Center of course. USC Sports play a tremendous role in our economy. Carolina football games under Coach Spurrier are regularly broadcast nationally and our new USC Baseball Stadium is coming out of the ground on the Congaree River.
The University and the community have collaborated on a host of other issues including hosting our friends from New Orleans after the flooding of Hurricane Katrina; together with Benedict College doing our gang assessment; working together on our homelessness effort, Housing First; and collaborating on improving Richland District One schools with Together We Can. We look forward to continuing that great work with Dr. Pastides.
I told him thanks. As it happened, that was one of the few editorials I actually wrote myself.