Neighbors of elementary school sites have traffic, safety concerns

Saturday, January 26, 2013 | 9:02 p.m. CST; updated 4:00 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 22, 2013

*Linnemeyer was misspelled in an earlier version of this article.

COLUMBIA — Properties around the proposed sites for a new elementary school in southwest Columbia are largely undeveloped, according to the Boone County Assessor's website.

A trip last week to the neighborhoods there turned up a few concerns.

*“Traffic, I guess, would be my biggest concern,” said Tabitha Rodgers, who lives near the proposed Linnemeyer site, 30 acres at the southwest corner of Route K and High Point Lane.

Julie Beard, a homeowner near the Potterfield site, 36 acres at the southeast corner of Route K and Old Plank Road, shares Rodgers' concern.

“We’re trying to get away from in-town traffic,” Beard said. “Now they’re moving it out here.”

The third proposed property, the Sapp site, is 34 acres at the northwest corner of Scott Boulevard and Route KK.

Area residents also foresee benefits to putting an elementary school nearby. Maria Waddell, who lives near the Linnemeyer site, said she recognizes that another elementary school is needed to address overcrowding at both Mill Creek and Rock Bridge elementary schools.

"We are actually looking forward to it," Waddell said. "Moms that I know that have kids in both schools are concerned with issues of overcrowding and just the capacities with the existing elementary schools."

Waddell’s daughter will start kindergarten at Rock Bridge Elementary School next year.

"My concern was that they didn’t plan for this a little further in advance," Waddell said. "It seems to have snuck up on them as far as the amount of kids entering elementary schools in this area."

The Cascades subdivision is located between the Potterfield and Linnemeyer sites. Cory Ridenhour, manager of Cascades Homeowners Association, sees two benefits to having an elementary school nearby: that it would be within walking distance of the subdivision and would increase property values there.

Ridenhour also shares concerns about more traffic and related safety issues. "I believe once the school is there, there would be stoplights and safer intersections to deal with more traffic."

The district’s Long-range Facilities Planning Committee will review the sites before a making a recommendation to the Columbia School Board.

"These three properties may or may not work out — you never know," said Christine King, chairwoman of the committee and vice president of the school board. "Right now, we are planning for about a 600-student school."

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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