COLUMBIA — After nine months of construction, the $2.1 million reconstruction of Brown School Road is complete. Although residents of the nearby Clearview subdivision are happy about the new street, they worry that encroachment by the city might mean less privacy for their neighborhood.
Clearview residents have mixed feelings about the construction. Although the new Brown School Road and pending improvements to Range Line Street could have many benefits for subdivision residents, they’re also bringing city life closer to rural parts of the county.
Wendy Remus of Clearview Drive called it a “love-hate relationship.” She said she enjoys the country feel of her neighborhood but understands the benefits of the expansion.
When she moved into the subdivision 19 years ago, she said the real estate agent told her about the city’s long-term plans to bring the city limits closer to Clearview.
“I was hoping (the construction) would hold off a little longer,” Remus said. “I’m not overly excited about it, but it does give us a lifeline into the city. We’re able to get there quicker.”
Mark Winscott of Rocky Fork Drive feels differently.
“I’m a country guy,” Winscott said. “I’m planning on moving further out. Being too close can be a hassle. Columbia used to be a country town, and now it’s turning into a big city.”
Remus said Clearview residents in recent years have talked about whether annexation is a good idea. But they’ve always decided that remaining in the county would be preferable. Jill Stedem, spokeswoman for the Columbia Public Works Department, said the city has no plans at this point to try to annex Clearview. Still, residents worry.
“It’s kind of sad to see,” Alanna Ti’a of Hackberry Boulevard said. “I hope we stay county, not city. If the community can stand together, I think we can stop it.”
“I’d like to see the city grow around us,” said Remus. “I can see Clearview staying a separate entity.”
Remus said she already feels the city is invading her family’s privacy.
“With the combination of Brown School Road and Range Line (construction), we are becoming more exposed, losing the country feel and our privacy,” she said.
Ken Elias has lived on Winter Drive in Clearview for 22 years.
“I’m just glad they fixed the roads. It’s about time they fixed it,” he said. Still, he wonders about the consequences.
“It’s not that big of a deal, but it would cause some problems,” said Elias. “I’d rather keep (Clearview) as county than city.”
City officials and residents celebrated the completion of the road Thursday morning with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony. The road was reconstructed to make it safer and to allow easier access from Columbia’s outskirts to the city center. The reconstruction of Brown School Road was part of a 2005 ballot issue project approved by Columbia voters.
The project included expanding the road to two lanes with curbs and gutters from Range Line Street to Providence Road, a length of about 3,900 feet. Capital improvement sales tax, development fees and county road tax rebates paid for the work, which was performed by Lehman Construction.