Although only a few blocks within The District, this area was once part of the larger Sharp End, Columbia’s African American neighborhood in the era before integration. Today, these blocks still house the Second Baptist Church and the home of ragtime great John William “Blind” Boone, which is currently undergoing renovation.
The West End has some light industrial space—it’s the home of the Columbia Daily Tribune—and is primarily a place for District residents and workers to get an oil change or fill up the tank. The area also contains a significant amount of empty space, primarily in the form of parking lots.
This is an important redevelopment area and mixed-use infill and beautification projects would significantly change the western edge of The District. Providence has recently been upgraded with the removal of the 1970’s era pedestrian bridge and the addition of crosswalks, landscaping, and the Beulah Ralph Memorial.
A west gateway—beautifying the intersection of Broadway & Fourth—is a key priority. Not only would this create a more welcoming entrance into The District, a pedestrian crossing that allows people to travel from Flat Branch Park and the MKT Trail across Broadway will also strengthen the connection between the West End and the rest of The District.