City hopes to lure large employer with 'Project Tiger'

Project Tiger is a cooperative project of the city, REDI, MU and Columbia College
Friday, April 9, 2010 | 6:40 p.m. CDT; updated 2:34 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 13, 2010

COLUMBIA — "Project Tiger" could bring 500 new jobs to Columbia.

The city, MU, Columbia College and Regional Economic Development Inc. are joining forces with the goal of drawing a large employer to Columbia. But because of a non-disclosure agreement, nobody can go into specifics.

Sixth Ward Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe confirmed the project has the potential to bring 500 jobs to town, but she cautioned that Columbia isn't a lock yet.

"Whether it is a sure thing or not has yet to be determined," Hoppe said. "I'm smiling and hopeful."

Dave Griggs, chairman of REDI's board of directors, is optimistic. He said the fact that Columbia sits in the Midwest is a big plus for companies looking to relocate. The central location makes shipping and travel across the nation much easier.

"Those advantages are brought on by the ever-increasing cost of fuel," Griggs said. "We have to take advantage of all the cards we're dealt."

REDI president Mike Brooks said there are a number of economic development projects in the works.

"We're in a stronger market position that will hopefully open doors for us," Brooks said.

Brooks and Griggs emphasized the sensitivity of the Project Tiger effort and explained why many folks choose not to talk about it.

"Companies that are investigating a significant expansion, they don't want their competitors to know anything about their plans," Griggs said. "Nearly all prospects have Columbia sign non-disclosure acts."

It is uncertain where in Columbia the Project Tiger effort would choose to locate. Ewing Industrial Park —the first certified shovel-ready site in Missouri — is a possibility. Two available buildings on Lemone Industrial Boulevard could also be options.



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Ed Ricciotti April 10, 2010 | 8:44 a.m.

Well, if Project Tiger pans out. Let me thank outing councilperson Jerry Wade and Karl Skala, as well as the rest of the current sitting city council for helping to bring those potential jobs here. I want to make sure Jerry and Karl get credit for this one, they helped create the shovel ready site at the Ewing Industrial Park.

Though it is curious that the existence "Project Tiger" comes out after the election.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 10, 2010 | 10:47 a.m.

Yea. I guess that Skala and company must've really deserved exactly what the Kespohl-led campaign dished out.

("8:07 p.m.

The absentee ballot numbers are in.

Bob McDavid is leading in the mayoral race with 327 votes to Jerry Wade's 212.

Gary Kespohl is ahead in the Third Ward and Daryl Dudley is leading the Fourth Ward race.

Proposition 1, downtown cameras, garnered 453 'yes' votes and 179 'no' votes.")

At what point in the evening are these absentee ballots incorporated into the precinct results?
I would suspect that there is a safeguard from allowing them to be counted twice.....right?
Must be a lot of activity at the end of the night, to get that count as accurate as can be.
Considering that Kespohl was throwing all that krap around during the campaign, I wonder if there were any flies on the wall?
("The county has distributed almost 700 absentee ballots, Noren said, and 480 have been cast. The number of people who have signed up to always get an absentee ballot has climbed in recent years.")

(Report Comment)
Dan Goldstein April 10, 2010 | 1:14 p.m.

It is nice to see interest in Columbia based on our great quality of life, and it is important to give credit to our outgoing council, and support our incoming council members, in maintaining our quality of life. This is an economic development issue. If you want good paying jobs in high tech, or other clean successful industries, you need to attract them by showing them that Columbia is a great place to live and work. Just as important, or possibly more so, you need to create an environment that entices entrepreneurs in Columbia to build new businesses here, not go elsewhere.

I am cautious about secret deals with these potential employers. The word is they hold all the cards and all we can do is do exactly what we are told. Or they will not come. I personally think this has some risks. Do we as a community know what tax breaks, infrastructure cost breaks and other enticements have been offered? Is this policy good business or blackmail? I guess there are many shades of grey between the two. Our new council people will have to make these decisions. In my ward Mr. Dudley ran on a platform of fixing the roads. The hard part is how do you balance fixing the roads with spending money on expanding sewer and water facilities and extending pipes out to shovel ready sites to bring in a food processing facility? This and other decisions will be hard and I hope Council members will be able to strike a balance between the competing interests.

If you are interested here is an interesting article on these issues:

Dan Goldstein

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 10, 2010 | 7:40 p.m.

Interesting article, Dan.
But I'm going to have to read it over a couple of times and keep repeating the serenity prayer each time I finish.
Don't know quite what I can do about it.
Any suggestions?

Let me ask you this, as well.
As I've discovered from my new role model, Larry Schuster, that everything's fair game, we can make an issue out of anything and everything and certain people in this town believe that you can make a silk purse out of a sow's ear.
("... support our incoming council members, in maintaining our quality of life.")
What message did the Kespohl campaign clan send to those looking at our "pristine" town and what kind of quality of life do they invoke?

("Nary a single one of the activist bums should be allowed a seat on the City Council.")

(Report Comment)

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