DLC plans to present infrastructure report to city council

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COLUMBIA - After nine months in the making, the Downtown Leadership Council (DLC) will be presenting recommendations to the Columbia City Council about infrastructure improvements.

Chair of the DLC, Brent Gardner, said some of the recommendations deal with public relations.

"Trying to get a little bit of credibility back for the city after saying things that may have been interpreted different ways by the public," Gardner said.

Then, the DLC will suggest that the city council consider using geographic information systems technology as a planning tool to calculate demands on the city's various infrastructure components.

"The city departments are kind of siloed. They don't really communicate well with each other. There could be things going on with parks and rec that water and light doesn't know about. If there was a coordination, that would be great," Gardner said.

Another thing the DLC will recommend is the city look ahead when planning for growth. Gardner said Columbia is anticipated to be double in size 35 years from now.

"We have to plan accordingly," Gardner said.

One thing DLC would like to do is work with the Downtown Community Improvement District Board (CID) to help pay for some of the infrastructure improvements with sales tax revenue, but Gardner said CID is opposed to that.

Gardner said the holdup on infrastructure improvements is affecting everyone in Columbia because many projects around the city are being put on hold until downtown projects are funded.

Gardner said there is no definite estimate on how much the infrastructure improvements will cost.

"There was a comment at one time that $10 million was what the city needed, but in our research we found that was a very arbitrary number," Gardner said.

In the report, the DLC said taxing the public should be the last resort.

The DLC will vote on the proposal October 28 and will present the final version to city council November 4.

From there, the city council will decide how it would like to move forward.