Community Reacts to Downtown Art Plan

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COLUMBIA - The Columbia community got its first look Thursday at new plans for the Downtown Columbia Gateway Project, a project aimed at beautifying downtown with large sculptures.

Downtown Columbia is part of a Community Improvement District (CID). If a business is in a CID, its customers pay an additional sales tax to fund improvements to roads and other infrastructure in the area. The downtown CID board makes decisions on how to spend the money that comes from the additional sales tax. 

The CID board is paying St. Louis planning and architecture firm Arcturis $40,000 to come up with a plan for the Gateway Project.

Thursday night, the CID board held a public meeting where residents were able to vote on three plans and provide feedback.

The intersection of Broadway and Providence Road would get an aesthetic facelift under the plan. 

One plan, the education design, would focus on Columbia as an education center for the region and the state. Arcturis imagines Broadway and Providence looking the way it does in the photo below:

 

A second plan, "The Hub" design, would focus on Columbia as an epicenter of culture, commerce and education. Broadway and Providence could look the way it does in the photo below:

A third plan, the energy design, would focus on Columbia as a creative center of art, entrepreneurship and music. Broadway and Providence could look the way it does in the photo below: 

 

Reaction to the designs has been mixed on social media. Not all Columbia residents believe the designs are a good look for the community and some object to the use of taxpayer money for the project.

Jessie Lawson wrote on the project Facebook page.

"I am furious that the city is spending money on such ridiculous frippery when there's such a need for basic improvements," Lawson wrote.

Nate White wrote that the designs are flashy but do not it reflect the atmosphere of The District.

"I'd like to see something that stretches across Broadway with some elegant lighting and rod iron and stone," White wrote. "Something that looks like it's already been there forever."

Click here to see a more detailed version of the plans on the project's Facebook page.

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