First Ward residents express their concerns about infrastructure

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COLUMBIA - First Ward city residents voiced their opinions and concerns at a forum Thursday for a new First Ward candidate about infrastructure and development.

The forum was held at United Methodist Church, and candidates spoke about their development plans for the ward.

Natalie Hampton, a First Ward resident said she came to the forum because she was concerned about the future of the city.

"I'm definitely concerned with the development and with having housing that will be affordable for all residents," Hampton said. "I worry when I start to see prices going up in the middle of the city when that happens, and we end up with people who are lower income having to move out of the city, it's harder to get services to them. So it's important to me that we have reasonable well-planned development in the city."

First Ward resident Allen Vaughd said he's pro-development.

"The thing that I am concerned about mostly is that ward 1 is still facing a lot of its own infrastructure issues that I think the city is not addressing in a timely or cost-effective manner," Vaughd said. "I like the fact that development is happening, but I don't want the residents who have been here for a long long time to suffer as a result."

Dan Cullimore, the moderator and organizer of the event expressed that in the past he thinks some of the wards concerned were overlooked by the council.

"Personally, I think that the citizens of Columbia spend a long time visiting some long range vision and some planning documents that in the past the council has not focused a whole lot on," Cullimore said. "I'm hoping when the new council is elected they will focus more on the vision."

KOMU 8 reached out to the city manager's office for a comment on their thoughts and plans for the future of the city. They were not available for an interview. 

The ward 1 candidate forum is the second of three forums the CoMo Council Watch hosted across the first ward. The third forum will be held April 4 at the ARC. 

Former First Ward Councilwoman Ginny Chadwick resigned from the position in January. The election for the new First Ward council member is Tuesday, April 7.