Columbia leaders to present plans for Business Loop 70 renovations

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COLUMBIA - Run-down buildings, scuffed up sidewalks and empty lots are what people first see when they exit off I-70 into Columbia. City leaders hope to change that.

The Loop Corridor Plan will be presented to the public at the Planning and Zoning Commission's meeting on Thursday.  

"What we really did is, we based the plan off what people were asking for," Loop Executive Director Carrie Gartner said. "And they were asking for beautification, infrastructure improvements and transportation." 

She said the street has been neglected for decades. 

"This is a strong commercial corridor. We have a lot of successful businesses here, so imagine the economic impact it could be if we really started paying attention to the street," Gartner said. 

This 10-year plan includes projects like a bike repair station, traffic box art, safe medians by schools and a pop-up festival site.  

Gartner said the budget also includes plans that will only take one year, so her team can really "get the ball rolling."

One former business owner told KOMU 8 News this transformation is a long time coming. 

"Overall the business loop, at least in my opinion, is literally our northern front door of our city. It really needs to be revitalized, it really needs some more pizzazz," Dave Griggs, the former owner of Dave Griggs' Flooring America, said. 

He said the city has tried in the past to do a CID on the business loop, but there was not any interest. 

"Great things are going to happen," Griggs said. 

This week the city council asked the staff to draft an "ordinance of support" for the plan. 

The council will present the master plan tonight at the Planning and Zoning Commission's meeting at 5:30 p.m. at Columbia City Hall.