Columbia residents disagree on PickleGarden on the River plans

Last week, we wrote an article talking about the new PickleGarden on the River development. Here’s what Soda Citizens had to say about it.

PickleballGarden on the River.png

View of the 4.75-acre riverfront property set to open before the end of the year. | Photo provided by Colliers | South Carolina

Last week, we received a press release from Colliers | South Carolina about the new PickleGarden on the River development and decided to write an article about it, showcasing renderings, key features of the development, sharing who is involved in the project, and more.

Along with the article, we decided to post about it on Instagram and Facebook. The posts spurred thousands of “likes,” thoughts, and feelings. We also garnered feedback about the development in our newsletter, asking our readers to share their thoughts on a rating scale and an open-ended survey.

We love being a hub of conversation — allowing folks to respectfully share their thoughts, whether in favor or opposition to news happening around Columbia. So today, we wanted to share the feedback we received about the project.

Survey results of PickleGarden on River

Breaking down your thoughts on the PickleGarden on the River development. | Graphic via Typeform from COLAtoday survey.

Survey says...

In last week’s newsletter, City Editor Sam asked readers to share their thoughts about the project in a survey. Out of 22 responses, 21 people answered the question: On a scale of 0 to 10, how happy are you about the new PickleGarden on the River development announcement? (0 meaning you hate it. 10; you love it.)

Key findings:

  • 52.5% of the 21 respondents clicked on 0-4
  • 38.0% of the 21 respondents clicked on 6-10
  • 9.5% of the 21 respondents clicked on 5

Respondent feedback:

Survey response: 0/10

  • “This is awful! There is so much already developed land that could be redeveloped for this purpose. I can’t believe we allow businesses to destroy the very thing that makes this area appealing.” — Kelly J.

Survey response: 5/10

  • “I am excited about development on our rivers. That said, this is a beautiful shaded strip, one of the only cool areas in the summer. I hope they leave some of the trees that shade the sidewalk.” — Jennifer M.

Survey response: 10/10

  • “Columbia is overdue for riverfront development! Look at what has been accomplished with the Swamp Rabbit Trail in Greenville and what a massive success that has been. There are lots of places to hang out at restaurants and breweries along the river without compromising the trail and the city has left tons of green space to enjoy as well. It’s time for Columbia to have the same!” — Elizabeth R.

Social media sentiment

Our social media posts about the development generated significant engagement, with over 330 reactions, 230 comments, and 200 shares on Facebook and more than 675 comments, 2,000 likes, 2,479 shares, and 105 saves on Instagram. We invite you to browse through these comments to get a sense of the opinions and perspectives shared by our audience.

Soon after the post on social media, a link to an “Urge Columbia Representatives to Halt Construction of “Picklegarden” Structure” petition began floating around, created by Jordan Owens. So far, the petition has garnered close to 4,000 signatures.

How to use your local voice

Though you are more than welcome to always share your thoughts with us via our comments section or inbox about any local news, the most we can do is encourage you to share those same thoughts in a way that brings about the changes you want to see in our city, whether you have a good idea for development or you’re in opposition to one.


An aerial view of the State House

Photo via Trinity Partners

Start here. We’ve compiled a Local 101 guide for Soda Citizens, familiarizing you with how Columbia’s City Council works, and helping you explore your role as an active citizen. We periodically add to this guide when a reader emails us with a specific question — hints: how our “Cities vs. Counties” segment was written.

In our most recent installment of this guide, we explored the role of the Planning and Development Services department tab on the City of Columbia’s website. This department’s goal is to oversee developments around the City to ensure that each project enhances the quality of life for citizens, promotes neighborhoods, supports businesses, and protects the environment.

Using your voice in the short-term

If you have a concern, question, opposition, idea, or thoughts about developments in Columbia, the City of Columbia Planning Commission invites public participation in their upcoming meetings, with the next one taking place on Thursday, Jan. 11 at 4 p.m. in City Council Chambers (1737 Main St.; on the third floor.)

Attendees have the opportunity to provide in-person comments for developments mentioned and approved on the agenda. For those unable to attend, written feedback can be submitted via email to until 12 p.m. the day before (Wednesday). Include your name and case details for consideration. Submitted comments will be shared with Planning Commission members before the meeting.

Using your voice in the long-term

If local government is an interest or passion of yours, consider joining a local board or commission. The City of Columbia has several vacant seats on many boards. If you find yourself particularly interested in city development projects and want to be involved in decision-making, Cola’s Planning Commission currently has three spots available, with each member fulfilling a three-year term.

Just search “Planning Commission” in the “All Positions” box to find more details, make an account, and apply.

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