Boone Hospital Center lease agreement includes $500,000 for Columbia Regional Airport

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 | 7:09 p.m. CDT; updated 11:54 a.m. CDT, Thursday, May 3, 2012

COLUMBIA — The Boone Hospital Center's lease agreement with BJC HealthCare includes a $500,000 donation from the company to be invested in the Columbia Regional Airport, according to a news release.

The Boone County Commission and the hospital's Board of Trustees reached an agreement Tuesday to extend the lease with the St. Louis company through 2020. After the lease is approved, BJC HealthCare's one-time donation will be invested in an escrow account to benefit the airport.

According to the Board of Trustees' statement, the airport is "a critical tool for physician recruitment." Board chairman Fred Parry was not available for comment Wednesday.

In addition to the donation to benefit the airport, BJC HealthCare will give another $500,000 to be used at the discretion of the Boone County Commission.

Lease payments to the county will be $1.6 million annually, with another $500,000 each year to address community health needs. That $500,000 will increase annually based on inflation.

The hospital has partnered with BJC HealthCare for 24 years, according to the statement.


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Doug Thomas May 3, 2012 | 10:49 a.m.

How many more business' in Columbia are going to be shaken down. In the last few months we have seen a fraternity,an apartment development and now a hospital all having to put up money for something that doesn't have anything to do with their project but for the "betterment" of Columbia. If we wonder why healthcare is becoming unaffordable just look at the contract issued by the Boone county board for another waste of money, the airport.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 3, 2012 | 12:45 p.m.


I can understand where you are coming from with the fraternity issue but not the other two. BJS agreed to these terms and from this very article their Board of Trustees is quoted saying that the airport is "a critical tool for physician recruitment." To say it has nothing to do with them completely contrasts with what BJC says about it.

As far as the Odle apartment development is concerned the developers approached the neighborhood association requesting their support on the new zoning, not the other way around. The neighborhood association made an offer and the developers turned it down. I don’t see why everyone is up in arms about two private organizations coming to a mutual beneficial agreement (or in this case not coming to an agreement). Last time I checked this was a free market country where people had the freedom to make their own associations, contracts, and deals.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 3, 2012 | 1:30 p.m.

The developer may have approached the neighborhood association, but the real question is....who brought up the money issue first? If the developer brought it up first, then it's an eye-wide-open inducement. If the association brought it up, it's something else....similar to the politician who says, "I need $10K for my campaign if you want my support, wink, wink."

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 3, 2012 | 1:35 p.m.

One other thought: Is this issue strictly between the developer and the neighborhood association, or do other citizens of Columbia have a stake, too?

If there is no city-wide stake, then we need no zoning laws other than "You have to get approval from those within (whatever) feet."

Kinda like Swiss naturalization procedures; the neighbors get to vote for or against you.

Not a bad idea, all-in-all.

(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 3, 2012 | 3:48 p.m.

Mike why does it matter who brought it up first? Who cares if they were selling their support? There is nothing illegal about it and as far as I'm concerned a good free market capitalist never leaves money on the table.

I think you and many others are confusing the issue here. The zoning request is between the city and the developers. The city has been hostile to the development so the developers tried to garner the support of the neighborhood association to help get their zoning request approved with more ease. The neighborhood requested a fee for their support which is their prerogative to do so.

The neighborhood's actions do nothing to effect the chances of the developers zoning request. The neighborhood association will not be involved in the process unless the developers continue to CHOOSE to involve them by trying to garner their support.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams May 3, 2012 | 4:20 p.m.


First, does the rest of Columbia get a say, or is this strictly between the developer and neighborhood?

Second, if citizens of Columbia have no problems with a developer buying/tempting a neighborhood with amenities ($$$) to get what they want, I won't argue the point further even tho I think it's the wrong road to go. In such an event, however, I will also support elimination of all zoning laws within the city...since the emphasis will be upon the neighborhood's negotiation skills and wishes rather than on any greater city-wide good.

Third, I make no distinction between a neighborhood association's wish to "be bought" and a politician's desire for the same thing.

If I was an active free-market capitalist engaged in developing this city, I would welcome the opportunity to negotiate ONLY with the neighbors rather than the city. After all, I can buy my wishes and desires, and I may even get to keep it secret!


(Report Comment)
Jack Hamm May 4, 2012 | 9:46 a.m.

Mike I really don't get what is so hard to understand about this. People are either completely confused about how our city and society operate (and what a free market really is) or they have some kind of alternative motive here.

The zoning request is between the developer and the city. The developer decided on their own free will to try and solicit the support of a neighborhood association. They are doing this because they believe their request will be denied and being able to show that the neighborhood of their last development supports them might help sway the city. The neighborhood group does not feel that the development in their area was a good thing so they are asking that the developers make right on their original promises that they broke before the support them before the council on the Odles new request (storm water issues, parking garage, traffic on the bike boulevard, and a few specific aesthetics issues). Basically, the Odles broke their trust with the group and the city so the group wants a financial obligation from them so they can deal with these issues directly instead of relying on the Odles to deal with these issues.

"Second, if citizens of Columbia have no problems with a developer buying/tempting a neighborhood with amenities ($$$) to get what they want, I won't argue the point further even tho I think it's the wrong road to go"

The neighborhood association does not get to okay the zoning request. Do you really not understand how zoning requests work? Even if the neighborhood association decides to back the developers the developers still need approval from the City Council. The neighborhood group has NO authority in this situation; this is an issue between two PRIVATE entities.

Think of it this way; the Odles are asking the neighborhood group to be their character witness just like defendants do in trial; using a character witness does not take away decision authority or power from the judge and jury.

"Third, I make no distinction between a neighborhood association's wish to "be bought" and a politician's desire for the same thing."

You really don't see a distinction between a private organization whose purpose is to facilitate their own self-interest compared to a publicly elected official whose purpose is to represent the interest of others?

(Report Comment)

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