Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau plan its next steps

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COLUMBIA - The Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Advisors met Monday and are deciding the next steps on a sports feasibility impact study.

"We have a lot of momentum, so I would like to carry that can keep moving forward," Director of CVB Amy Schneider said. 

Earlier in November, Victus Advisors presented its findings on Columbia's competitive sports and how the city can improve. The CVB and Parks and Recreation have teamed up to make Columbia competitive regionally to youth and amateur sports tournaments.

They recommended a City-County Competitive Sports Complex, a multi-sport indoor facility and an aquatic center. If all of the recommendations are followed, they could cost around $46.5 million.

Along with the new facilities, Victus also recommended the CVB and Parks and Recreation establish a sports commission. The goal would be to establish Columbia as a leader in competitive sports by marketing Columbia as a sports tourism destination, supporting and expanding new facilities and connecting visitors to Columbia to local businesses.

To pay for all of this, Victus recommended increasing the lodging tax from 4 percent to no higher than 7 percent. The company compared similar-sized cities and showed most places have a higher lodging tax.

Lodging Tax
City State Lodging Tax
Ames Iowa 7.0%
Athens Georgia 7.0%
Jefferson City Missouri 7.0%
Lawrence Kansas 6.0%
Champaign Illinois 6.0%
Bloomington Indiana 5.0%
Springfield Missouri 5.0%
Joplin Missouri 4.0%
Columbia Missouri 4.0%
Average 5.7%
Median 6.0%

"It would be a ballot measure, and that is why we need people around the table that will need to discuss if this will be a good thing," Schneider said.

CVB and Parks and Rec commissioned this study to see if Columbia was ready for a sports commission, but there are many things that came out of it. As for what recommendation to tackle first, Schneider said she does not know.

"I can't handpick what I would like to see move forward unless we have community consensus," Schneider said. "What I would like to see is just having people from the community sit around and talk and see what they think could work and not work."

Parks and Recreation will have another meeting Nov. 17, and there will be a public meeting sometime after.