On a recent weekend afternoon, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and his family took a trip out to Boyd Island, the scenic spot in the confluence of the Saluda, Broad and Congaree rivers at the western edge of the Capital City.
The mayor says that, as the waters rushed by, he waxed poetic with his daughters — for probably the millionth time, he admits — about the importance of the rivers in the foundation of Columbia. That’s when one of his girls, Jordan Grace, offered an idea.
She suggested that the new city flag — adopted by Columbia City Council earlier this year and almost immediately emblazoned on stickers, T-shirts, caps and more — could be put on a pole and raised right there on Boyd Island, announcing the city’s presence from the confluence.
A unique idea, to be sure, but the third-term Democratic mayor has never been averse to unique ideas. He’s long been enamored with the independent spirit of Columbia.
“Since March 1786, we were meant to represent something different,” Benjamin says, referring to the date when the state Legislature approved a bill to create a capital for South Carolina.
It’s a maverick streak that has continued through the ages, and has particularly manifested in moves made by Benjamin and Columbia City Council in the last few years, across a number of issues.