Support For Disease Lab

9 years 9 months 1 week ago June 14, 2007 Jun 14, 2007 Thursday, June 14 2007 Thursday, June 14, 2007 7:56:06 AM CDT in News

A local businessman started an online petition in favor of the Department of Homeland Security's proposed disease lab on Columbia's east side. Proponents say the new lab could bolster Columbia's economy.

"This facility has the potential to draw multi-billion dollars worth of economic impact to the state of Missouri, it's basically going to create several hundred very high paying, um, scientist jobs and other jobs that are along with that," Jay Lindner, disease lab supporter, said.

Nearly 300 signed the petition Lindner created Monday. He said members of the business community want that support. Even though proponents say the proposed facility could bring a lot economic development to the city, opponents say it should be a no-go.

"I would not live within 150 miles of this facility," opponent Karen Onofrio said.

Behind stacks of research and maps of the city, Karen Onofrio has said for weeks the disease lab could be a disaster. But now that the disease lab has supporters, she said there's room for discussion

"Having them come out and saying they want to have a pro-petition I think is going to bring more dialogue and that's what we need," Onofrio said.

Lindner agrees, he said the community needs to talk so it can come to an agreement. There's no word yet on when the Department of Homeland Security will decide on the facility. Columbia is currently one of 18 sites vying for the disease lab.

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