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Council decides fate of downtown parking lot

The Columbia City Council decides what it may do with a high-profile parking lot on Monday night.

The council is planning to expand Flat Branch Park at the corner of Broadway and Providence in front of the Columbia Real Estate building. That’s the spot where a CVS Pharmacy was rejected several times.

The owners of the current building had a deal for parking spots in the city-owned lot for decades, but that agreement expired in August 2018. Now the council must decide whether to move ahead with a park expansion that gets rid of the lot, or a compromise that at least keeps some of it.

The expansion will cost $1.9 million, but there is no money in the city budget for it. The plan is to start fundraising soon so that the upgrades could be ready by the city’s bicentennial in May 2021.

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