Business Leaders Discuss Business Loop 70 Beautification

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COLUMBIA - As downtown Columbia continues to grow, there's one piece of the city that wants in on the action: Business Loop 70.

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At the School Board meeting Monday night, businesses proposed the idea of implementing a Community Improvement District for Business Loop 70. The improvement district would raise sales tax on Business Loop by 0.5 percent. The sales tax is 0.5 percent lower than the rest of Columbia so it would bring Business Loop 70 up to par.

Some businesses said upgrades would make the area more desirable.

"I think that enhances the business also I think it would attract more people to the area if it was improved," said Stan Hines, assistant manager at Car Mart. "With better lighting it would have a more greener look to it."

Hickman High School is the only public school in the district that would be affected by the sales tax. Christie King, president of the Columbia School Board, called the Business Loop "unsightly."

"That area is in badly need of some assistance and some upgrading to make it more enjoyable to drive down," King said. "That would make it better to have more businesses, or if they want it to be a destination area."

51 percent of the property owners on Business Loop 70 would need to approve the improvement district for it to be implemented. The school board will vote on the district during it's work session on February 20.