West Columbia’s Interactive Art Park opened in September of 2019. Carraway Children’s Park opened two months later. Despite a year marked by the coronavirus crisis, the parks are now getting rave reviews.
“We love this park,” said Will Warren of West Columbia. He was speaking of the Carraway Children’s Park across from Riverwalk Park. “We come here probably twice a week.”
Will had his two children with him, six-year-old son Liam, and four-year-old daughter, Emma.
Liam is a first-grader at Saluda River Academy for the Arts. He said he likes the park’s big swing. He described it as being like a roller coaster. Emma said she loves the park’s slide.
Will said the park is clean, and he likes the fact there is no dirt.
The Palate restaurant at 116 State Street opened after the Interactive Art Park opened at 425 Meeting Street. The Meeting Street Artisan Market is held there from 9 a.m.until 1 p.m. on Saturdays until December. It features: original arts and crafts; fresh foods and produce; local food trucks, and other prepared food vendors.
“We were very excited to hear about the park,” said Lindsay Whitlock who owns Palate with her husband, Levi. She said the free public parking spaces provided by the City of West Columbia, adjacent to the park, have been good for business because of the added access they allow.
Lindsay also said she appreciates all of the artwork, and the colorful murals in the park and the alleyway between State Street and the park. The interactive art park also has free WiFi provided by the City of West Columbia.
Ian and Mary Addison Yates of West Columbia came to Carraway Children’s park for the first time, Tuesday. They were there with their eight-year-old twins, who attend Riverbank Elementary.
“We’re ecstatic,” Mary said of the park. “The kids loved the park when they saw it.”
The Yates decided to come to the park after being “cooped up.
“We had cabin fever and needed to get out,” said Ian. He said the features in the park are age-appropriate. The Yates liked the size of the park because it enables social distancing. They liked the park’s restrooms, too.
“It’s beautiful,” said Mary. “We will come back.”
While Caraway Children’s Park offers a chance to play, Riverwalk Park presents natural beauty.
Lee Highsmith, of Columbia, and his son Paxston stopped at a Riverwalk picnic table Tuesday afternoon to enjoy a meal from Chick-fil-A.
“Just wanted to spend some time with my son,” said Lee.
The two were only eating on this visit to Riverwalk, but Lee said he also likes to kayak on the river and he and Paxston have taken tubing trips on the Congaree.
These are just three of West Columbia’s great parks. Other parks in the city offer other features.
The Community Center and Park on B Avenue has free WiFi, provided by the city. Butler Park, and the Moffatt Street entrance to Riverwalk also have free WiFi.
The two new parks in West Columbia have quickly become popular. There are many other parks in the city, too, that residents have been enjoying for years.
West Columbia Parks:
- B Avenue Ball Park – 815 B Avenue (Baseball, Football, Batting Cages, Press Box, Restrooms)
- Carraway Park at the Riverwalk – A Place for All Children to Play Together – 212 Hudson Street (Restrooms, Covered Picnic Tables (First Come, First Serve), All-Inclusive Playground)
- Douglas Reeves Community Park – 761 Augusta Street (Tennis, Playground, Restrooms, Bicycle Repair Station, FREE Public Wi-Fi)
- Rosamunda Percell-Butler Community Park – 1100 Raleigh Street (Basketball, Playground, Picnic Shelter, FREE Public Wi-Fi)
- Fowler Community Park – 1800 C Avenue (Playground, Picnic Shelter)
- Howard Sports Complex – Behind Northside Middle School
- Interactive Art Park – 425 Meeting Street (Interactive Art Sculptures, FREE Public Wi-Fi, Parking, Electric Car Charging Stations)
- Moffatt Street Entrance to the Riverwalk – 100 Riverside Drive, West Columbia (Bicycle Repair Station, FREE Public Wi-Fi)
- West Columbia Riverwalk Park and Amphitheater – 109 Alexander Road, (Bicycle Repair Station, Restrooms)