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Introducing Gills Creek Memorial Park coming to Columbia, SC

Explore the plans the City of Forest Acres has for its new Gills Creek Memorial Park.

Waterfront park in Forest Acres

New waterfront park in Forest Acres

Renderings via Kenneth B. Simmons Associates and City of Forest Acres

The City of Forest Acres revealed yesterday that its newest city park originally announced in 2021 has a name. Meet Gills Creek Memorial Park, named in honor of the city’s urban waterways and officers.

The park will house a new memorial to honor two Forest Acres police officers in particular Greg Alia, who died while on duty in 2015, and Richey Finch, a patrolman who died during a traffic stop in 1974. The memorial’s rock, which will sit in the far right corner of the park, was handpicked by Officer Greg Alia’s widow, Kassy Ray Alia, and Chief Don Robinson.

Along with the memorial, we’re sharing a few updates (and giving you a refresher) on what you can expect from this new half-acre waterfront park that’s expected to open later this fall or winter.

Gills Creek Memorial Park rendering 1

Gills Creek Memorial Park rendering

Renderings via Kenneth B. Simmons Associates and City of Forest Acres

When the City of Forest Acres originally announced the park in 2021, it was estimated to cost ~$1 million. Altogether, the park will cost around $3 million (~$1.6 million for the park + another ~$1.3 million or so to redo the bridge that was damaged in the 2015 flood.) SCDOT funds are paying for the bridge and ARPA funds will pay for the new park buildout.

The City hopes the park will provide an urban green space for community events (think — a local “town square” ). It will be located across from Trenholm Plaza and offer waterfront views along Gills Creek on Forest Lake Place Drive.

Evening - Lawn + Food Truck

Green space and food truck area

Renderings via Kenneth B. Simmons Associates and City of Forest Acres

Visitors will be able to experience:

  • An event lawn
  • A small performance stage
  • An overlook deck on the creek to view the spillway of Forest Lake
  • A splash pad
  • Space for food trucks
  • A memorial for Forest Acres Police Officers

The City of Forest Acres released a statement saying construction will be loud as structural supports for the new bridge are installed. The bridge construction is expected to last three weeks and the (what they call) “temporary pain” will result in a new bridge accessing the new park that will overlook Gills Creek.