Businesses downtown react to CID's five-year plan
Columbia – Cleaning sidewalks, improving alleys and increasing the safety of downtown garages are among the goals of a new five-year plan presented Monday by the the Downtown Community Improvement District (CID)
The plan, presented to the city council, includes various improvements towards the enhancement of the downtown environment, economy, marketing and events, and communications and advocacy.
Ruth LaHue, the owner of My Secret Garden, said cleanliness is an important factor when attracting people to downtown.
"The alleys, especially the alleys with the dumpsters, could be a huge deterrent to shoppers if they are not maintained well," she said.
Jordan Robinson, the general manager of Hot Box Cookies, said he wants to see more renovations outside.
"All of the buildings look like they have been here for awhile and have never been worked on. Just give downtown a new appeal," he said.
Another section of the five-year plan is to improve the brand of "The District."
LaHue said focusing on marketing for downtown is always important, because students come and go.
"We are constantly getting new people coming into Columbia who need to discover us," she said.
Safety is another key factor the CID would like to improve.
"Extra security would probably be the best bet. I think that would make a safer environment to make more people come downtown to socialize," Robinson said.
Both Robinson and LaHue said they believe Columbia is a special city and they are happy with the proposed changes.
LaHue said, "We do need to keep our downtown in the forefronts of our thoughts as far as a whole community goes. Our downtown is a jewel that most small towns do not have anymore."