Located in the 2,288-acre tract known in the 1880’s as the Douglas mill tract, Arcadia Lakes was first agricultural land that was composed of lakes with towering pine trees. Seeking to avoid the hustle of the metropolitan areas of Columbia, a few adventurous families moved to the country during the early 1900’s primarily settling on multi-acre tracts. Early residents include the Cary, Sample, Harper, Hoile, Taylor, Proctor, Burnside, Dent, Carns, Zander, Kaminer, Sloan, Condor, and Curry families, among others.
Eventually, additional roads were constructed and widened, sub-divisions developed, and new residents moved into the areas. The rural area was undergoing a historic metamorphosis into a suburban community. As the City of Columbia annexed nearby property into her borders, neighborhood gatherings featured heated debates on the merits of joining the Capital City. Avoiding municipal taxes was major consideration for the opponents of annexation. Establishing a new municipality–one, which catered to the unique features of the section, became a serious possibility. A petition filed on the ninth of October 1959 by Commissioners L.W. Conder, L. E. Atwater, Jr., and Clyde Dent plus seven other electors in the area, and a following special election on October 30, 1959 saw the start of the Town of Arcadia Lakes.
The final vote on whether to seek incorporation was 46 in favor, and 30 opposed. Dr. Alfred Burnside, Sr. was elected Mayor, and L. E. Atwater, Jr., Harriet Burnside, Edward Proctor and W.W. Robertson served as the first aldermen. The results of the election were certified by the South Carolina Secretary of State on November 3, 1959. By 1960, the official Census population count of residents was 316.
During the mid-1960’s, Arcadia Lakes, devised a zoning map, which includes two residential areas and one light commercial section. The map was amended later to allow Planned unit Developments, such as the Commons, on large undeveloped tracts.
The Town of Arcadia Lakes adopted the Council form of government on April 28, 1976, when Judge Henry McKellar was Mayor. In 1977, the Code of Ordinances of the Town of Arcadia Lakes was officially adopted and published by the Municipal Association of South Carolina. Since, the Code has been revised as needed by the Town Council. A mayor and four members, all at-large, make up the Town Council. Terms are four years with staggered elections. Nomination is by petition and elections are non-partisan.
The Arcadia Lakes Town Council meets the first Thursday evening of each month. These meetings are open to the public, and the time and place is announced on-line. Normally, meetings for Council and Town Boards and Commissions are held in Town Hall.
Because the Town never assessed local property taxes, it relies on franchise fees, business licenses, interest from savings, building permit fees, and state revenue to local government to support Arcadia Lakes’ government. Revenue pays for the personnel and administrative costs, street lights, debris pick-up, garbage collection, Town signs, recycling bins and tipping fees, disaster relief efforts, building inspections, legal fees, limited extra-duty by sheriff’s deputies for patrol and code enforcement, and a Magistrate’s supplement to serve as Town judge, if necessary.
The Town entered into and relies upon intergovernmental agreements with Richland County for additional services performed in the Town such as storm water plan management and animal control. Road maintenance is performed either by the SC Department of Transportation (SCDOT) or the Richland County Public Works Department depending on whether a state or county road. The population of the Town is approximately 900.
The Arcadia Lakes Time Capsule originally planted at the October 6, 1991 picnic behind the Tree of Life Congregation is being kept by the First Citizens Bank in a Safety Deposit Box at the North Main Branch. The Town Council appreciates the generous donation of First Citizens to Arcadia Lakes. This Time Capsule is to be unsealed on October 6, 2041 by the Town Council of Arcadia Lakes.