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Parcel planned for parking to stay wooded instead

A piece of land originally intended for a parking lot will now stay wooded after its donation to the city of Columbia.

The city plans to preserve the land near the intersection of West Worley Street and North Fairview Road in its natural state, according to the Columbia Parks and Recreation Department. MBS Textbook Exchange donated the land to the city.

“We’ve owned that strip of land there since 1993 or so,” said former CEO of MBS Textbook Exchange Bob Pugh.

He said the company originally owned it to build another parking lot, but decided they didn’t need it.

“It’s been sitting there kind of feral, just native trees and stuff falling down,” Pugh said.

Pugh said it was not “suitable for economic development of any kind,” so the company decided to donate the land for preservation.

The area will be called Fairview Hollow.

“If they put a nice park in there, I think it would be a nice addition,” said Benjamin Welch, who grew up in a neighborhood near the donated land.

Welch said the area has been wooded for as long as he could remember and he would like to have something else there. One of Welch’s neighbors said she also hoped the city would do something with the land because of the deer population in that area.

But Welch also said several of his neighbors probably liked the “secluded” feel of the neighborhood.

He said the traffic was much lighter before the Walmart on West Broadway was built. Though he would like something to be built on the donated land, he said many people in the neighborhood would probably like not having another business to add to the traffic in the area.

“We really see this as a way to have a really nice piece of property in Columbia without hardly any expense to the taxpayers,” Columbia Parks and Recreation director Mike Griggs said.

He said the city plans to use volunteers to keep the land clean throughout the year.

Griggs said part of the land could be used for realignment of Fairview Road. The city has not committed to such a project, though.

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