Infrastructure, Money Issues Put Freeze on Downtown Development

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COLUMBIA - City officials say the city does not have the infrastructure or money to accept new development plans for the downtown area.

City leaders told KOMU 8 news current businesses have exhausted the electric, sewer, road and sidewalk infrastructure in place that enables developers to build in the core of downtown. The city said water pipes are at full capacity and cannot handle any more new construction. 

City Manager Mike Matthes said the city has been working to find a solution.

"The action that we have taken has been to raise our hand and say, ‘we are out of infrastructure,'" said Matthes.

He said buildings can be re-used as long as they require the same amount of infrastructure.

Matthes said city council is considering expanding the city's capabilities and will need to figure out who would pay for upgrades.

"There are answers to these questions. We just have to decide where they are," said Matthes.

"Columbia Imagined," a visionary plan that outlines the growth of the city, does not account for the lack of infrastructure downtown.

The plan outlines a category called "urban service area." This element of the plan says the city will expand its own systems within the urban service area, under the city's budget. If it is outside of the urban service area, developers must pay for the cost of infrastructure at their own expense.

Matthes said there's no timetable as to when or if the city would make improvements.