Planned Demolition Sparks Dialogue

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COLUMBIA - A plan to demolish two houses on St. Joseph street prompted a meeting Wednesday between Boone County Family Resources and the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission. The commssion and some neighbors want to preserve the potentially historic houses, while BCFR wants to demolish the buildings and replace them with new housing.

Officials from BCFR said they hope to build affordable housing for people with developmental disabilities where the properties are now, but that the current houses would cost more to rennovate than to demolish and rebuild. Representatives explained that the area is good for their clients, because it is within walking distance of downtown Columbia and has access to public transportation. They added that keeping their clients in a cluster of houses is better than spreading them out.

Members of the Historic Preservation Commission argued that the houses were an important part of a historical neighborhood, even though none of the houses had any particular historic significance.

Area residents were also present at the meeting and proposed options such as demolishing two of the properties but leaving the house at 308 St. Joseph street untouched. They also questioned why BCFR didn't have a specific plan for the properties.

The compromise that both groups liked most was to physically move the house at 308 to a nearby lot if possible. The BCFR board will meet August 1st to further discuss the future of the houses.