In capstone, we’re all working on a a group documentary project about Broadway.
That’s Broadway the street, mind you.
I campaigned heavily for Broadway to be our project topic because I think Broadway epitomizes the city of Columbia. It’s got the eclectic/trendy downtown, City Hall, historic residential neighborhoods, student apartments, developing neighborhoods, big commercial strip malls and it’s the oldest street in the city.
My contribution to the project? I’ll be working on the development aspect. Broadway “began” where downtown is now, and ever since, it’s been expanding and developing on its western and eastern ends. So I’ve been exploring those two “ends” of Broadway.
Today, I went to the eastern end — past Hwy 63, where I’ve never been before. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was hoping to find a developing neighborhood whose growth has been stunted by the economic crisis and recession. Sure enough, I found that neighborhood.
The speed limit on East Broadway past Hwy 63 is 45; I was going at 35 because I wanted to look around as I was driving. But it’s a two-lane road, and when I saw that the two drivers behind me were getting impatient with me, I threw on my turn signal and drove into a neighborhood. After a quick drive around, I observed that:
- each lot was fairly large and not every lot had a house built yet,
- mailboxes were completely identical to each other (much like those in the Village of Cherry Hill), and
- quite a few houses had signs indicating they were for sale or sold.
I parked at the clubhouse near the neighborhood’s entrance and approached a woman who was walking with her young son. After introducing myself as a photojournalism student looking into development in Columbia, I was pleasantly surprised when the woman — Becky — said she was a builder before the economic crisis hit.
Becky gave me a lot of information about the Vineyards, which began development three or four years ago. The neighborhood’s Phase I — the subdivision we were in — was hardly completed, and the Phase II subdivision half a mile away had just begun when the stock market fell. Becky also said the Old Hawthorne neighborhood further down the road was worth checking out: its golf course is almost PGA-level, and it might soon feature Thomas Kinkade-style houses.
I definitely learned a lot, and I’ll be exploring more of the East Broadway region over the next few days.