Watkins Still Optimistic
Wednesday morning, Columbia City Manager Bill Watkins delivered hisannual State of the City speech. Watkins said the city is taking stepsin the right direction, and the improvements are starting right at cityhall.
"The council unanimously determined that the tipping point for city hall had arrived," Watkins said.
It's one of several city buildings scheduled for renovation.
"The Daniel Boone building will be renovated inside and out. In fact we've already started work in the lobby," Watkins said.
Inaddition, the city completed work on the Howard and Gentry buildingsdowntown. The city also worked with downtown businesses to develop anew sign ordinance. Now, Watkins and the city are looking ahead to the"Sasaki plan," in which the city, Stephens College, and MU willcoordinate planning on city areas surrounding campus.
Watkins ispushing for the city to work on run-down properties, which are labeledas N.R.T. areas, and transform them into livable areas. The city isalso looking forward to working with the Farmers' Market and theColumbia Youth Basketball Association as they develop facilities nextto the ARC.
Watkins said the renovations to city buildings are symbolic of the city's commitment to improving the area.
"They're not just nice buildings. They represent long-term relationships with the community," Watkins said.
Theend of the city's fiscal year is September 30th. That leaves July andAugust for the council to hold public meetings over budget issues.