City Council approves funding for Stadium corridor projects

Monday, July 21, 2008 | 11:44 p.m. CDT; updated 7:30 p.m. CST, Friday, February 19, 2010

COLUMBIA — The city will take out a state loan to foot $10.8 million of the bill for extensive roadwork in the Stadium Boulevard corridor between Broadway and Interstate 70.

On Monday, the Columbia City Council approved changes to its agreements with the three transportation development districts in the area. The districts are each collecting a half-cent sales tax to pay for part of the project, but the City Council — eager to speed up the work — voted to borrow money from the Missouri Transportation Finance Corporation at a relatively low interest rate of 3.92 percent.

The city would repay the loan over 10 years with revenue from the districts’ sales taxes. The overall cost of the project will be $19.8 million, with the state paying for the difference.

The goal of the project is to ease chronic traffic congestion and to address safety problems in the corridor. That will involve extensive work on Stadium Boulevard and on adjacent streets, including Bernadette Drive and Worley and Ash streets.

The council agreed to amend agreements with three entities: the transportation development districts for the Columbia Mall, the Shoppes at Stadium, and the properties along Stadium owned by Raul Walters. The latter two districts formed in 2004, prompting the city to encourage the formation of the mall district in 2007.

Walters owns the Crossroads West Shopping Center and the plazas where Circuit City, Toys “R” Us and Best Buy are located; Stan Kroenke owns the Shoppes at Stadium, which occupies the property that was the former site of the Biscayne Mall.

At the meeting, City Manager Bill Watkins said the work would proceed in phases and that the city wouldn’t begin to draw down money from the state until it is needed to avoid starting the clock on interest.

“The plan is to go in pieces as the money is available,” he said.

He said the city would proceed with funds already collected by the districts’ sales taxes for one or two years, when work starts to widen Stadium Boulevard.

“My goal — because it will be a mess — is to try and minimize the disruption along the Stadium corridor,” he said.

The project would also include work on the mall parking lot. Watkins said the project would affect access to the mall, and the work on the parking lot would be to incorporate new access points.

So far, Watkins said, the Columbia Mall district has approved the agreement. He said the Shoppes at Stadium district had expressed approval but had not voted on the agreement, and that the city was still working with third district.

Although funding has been approved, the final plan is still subject to public hearing and approval by the City Council.

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