Columbia’s Fixation on the Population

Columbia%27s+Fixation+on+the+Population

Roxy Garcia, Reporter

Downtown Columbia will look very different in the coming year. On the corner of Ninth St. and Locust St. a new ten story apartment building will replace the local businesses. Britches and Quinton’s Bar have already been abandoned. Plans are being reviewed for the new Rise Apartments building according to Patrick Zenner, the Development Services Manager of City of Columbia’s, Community Development Department.

“It’s going to be a 400 bed development, as opposed to the proposed Turner development that will be a 700 bed. Parking and some retail will be on the first and second floors,” Zenner stated. The building is expected to be around 117 feet tall with a mix of studio, 1,2,3,&4 room units.

The new development has caused quite a controversy in the news; many have stated concerns about the parking on Locust or that the building will take away from the retail on ninth. Some have also expressed concern towards the use of the James building, a historical building that burnt down several years ago.

“The building will have to address the parking issue according to zoning standards,” mentioned Zenner. “It will retain the ninth street retail on both sides and on the first floor of the building and uses some non-functional building space. As far as the James building, we may be losing structure, but not history. It is my understanding that some historic pieces of the James building may be used in the new structure,” Zenner said.

With Mizzou’s dropping enrollment some are concerned on whether the building is necessary or if it will be able to be filled. Zenner said the building will not only be intended for students, but also young professionals.

“The goal is, as we build more housing, rental housing on the edges of campus, competition prices will drop and the older rental space will be less used, providing opportunities for development the city is looking for.” Zenner added.

However, my concern is this, should this really be the focus of downtown’s development? Downtown Columbia has been undergoing major neglect in the much needed police department. With a large range of late night businesses and being a college town, a proportionate police department is a necessity.

A lot of businesses have experienced flooding from the sewers as more development takes place. It seems to me that there is more work to be done before we focus on moving the college students.

“You can’t move all the college kids downtown and then get mad at them for doing what college kids do and making a mess.” said Jesse Garcia, a small business owner and long-time Columbia citizen.

“Growth is always necessary, but making sure the city is ready for growth has to be a priority.” Garcia added.

I believe that as a city we need to focus on developing the necessary components, before putting money or time into giant buildings in the middle of downtown. With only ten percent of the city’s budget going towards emergency response resources, we have other concerns that should be a priority.