This letter was originally sent to John Glascock, director of Columbia Department of Public Works for the city; Tad Johnsen, director of the Department of Water and Light; and John Blattel, the city's finance director.
In news reports, city announcements, council meetings and various other sources, it has become more than clear that the core city infrastructure in Columbia faces considerable challenges.
For example, at the City Council meeting Feb. 17, city staff stated that the sewer system routinely fails during rainfall events and that there is insufficient capacity for many city utilities to meet any expanded growth in the downtown area.
A critical first step in addressing any deficiency in Columbia’s infrastructure is to provide citizens the opportunity to learn about the issues through an open and honest dialogue with city staff.
It is with that in mind that the leaders of adjacent neighborhood associations (see below) urge the city to host a series of public meetings/listening sessions addressing the condition and capacity of downtown infrastructure.
These meetings must provide an opportunity for citizens to get answers to their questions about the current status of downtown infrastructure and the pros and cons of potential strategies to correct those deficiencies including funding options.
We look forward to cooperating with you, as directors of key city departments, and the City Council to organize two or more forums addressing the sewer, electric, water, and transportation capacity in Columbia’s downtown before early April.
Catherine Doyle and John Lory belong to Westmount Neighborhood Association; Hank Ottinger belongs to the Old Southwest Neighborhood Association; Stacia Reilly belongs to the Historic West Broadway Neighborhood Association; Nancy Burnett, Brian Greer and Kim Thompson belong to the East Walnut Neighborhood Association; Brandon R.J. Renaud belongs to the Benton-Stephens Neighborhood Association; Ken Sheldon belongs to the Quarry Heights Neighborhood Association.