The year 2011 will be special for USC athletics, and not necessarily for any upcoming on-field performance.
With the State Farmers Market now officially moved to a new, sprawling 175-acre complex in Dixiana, the old farmers market property on Bluff Road in Columbia is about to be transformed into top-flight parking and tailgating space for Gamecock football fans.
Next year, all the buildings except the large farmers shed will be razed, and the 52-acre tract re-striped for parking. The following year 2012 the area will be landscaped into a park-like setting with grass parking and shade trees and other amenities similar but more expansive that those at the State Fairgrounds today.
But the farmers market project is just the first domino in a development ripple that will come in subsequent years:
• Transform the concrete footprint of Williams-Brice Stadium, now jammed on game day with the vehicles of the Gamecock elite, into a safer, landscaped and paved plaza more fitting of a national football program