Report shows Columbia continues to grow, needs more infrastructure

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COLUMBIA - The Downtown Leadership Council (DLC) approved an Infrastructure Report Tuesday, which says Columbia continues to grow and needs more infrastructure.

The report adds in order to accomplish the infrastructure goals, the city will need more staff to allow the city to plan, fund and build infrastructure long term.

Brent Gardner, Chair of the Downtown Leadership Council, said the city asked the DLC to look at infrastructure downtown because the city said it has had problems.

"They asked us to work with public trust and try to gauge public trust with how the situation has been handled within the last year," Gardner said. "Then make specific recommendations that council could look at as funding mechanisms for future infrastructure growth."

He said looking out 35 years,  Columbia's population could double. The recommendations in the report take that into consideration, as well as research done by the committee that looked at other cities, interviewed people, talked with various department heads and worked with developers. But, Gardner said the committee knows not everyone will be happy with its recommendations.

"It'll have an effect on developers," he said. "They'll have an opinion on it, one way or the other, some ideas they'll love and some ideas they'll not."

One thing he said the committee will continue looking into is the parking situation in the downtown area. He said it will probably be the committee's next area of focus. 

Gardner said the committee spoke with developers and one of the issues the developers brought up was knowing the steps they were going to need to take to build in the city.

The report also recommends more communication between city departments, which Gardner said is not happening very well. 

Another key area Gardner said the committee will address is for the city government to be more transparent with the public, which he said could help the people gain trust in their city government.

The DLA will present the report to the Columbia City Council during its next meeting.