Downtown Community Improvement District seeks feedback on 'gateway' concepts

Thursday, March 20, 2014 | 8:33 p.m. CDT; updated 8:10 a.m. CDT, Friday, March 21, 2014

COLUMBIA — Columbia residents have two weeks to weigh in on concepts for four downtown "gateways," a public plaza and art installation.

Russ Volmert of the consulting group Arcturis, hired by the Downtown Community Improvement District to design the concepts, said the gateways would have a "hub theme" with two goals: display downtown Columbia as a local center, and present the city as a hub for entertainment, education and culture for Missouri.

The ideas include a public plaza at the southeast corner of Broadway at Providence Road with large letters spelling Columbia in which the "O" would display names of famous residents. Three 24-foot-tall columns on the plaza behind the “Columbia” sign would also celebrate Missourians who have contributed to art, literature, science, education and commerce.

Sketch for gateway project

One concept developed for the Downtown Community Improvement District would establish a public plaza on the southeast corner of Broadway and Providence. (Photo courtesy of Arcturis consulting group)

Gateways would  be located between Tenth and Ash streets on the north, between Ninth and Elm streets on the south, at Broadway and Fourth Street on the west and at Broadway and Waugh Street on the east.

Volmert said each gateway would have three columns that represent MU, Stephens College and Columbia College, and portray Columbia as an education hub. The gateways would light up at night, the improvement district showed in a presentation.

Night street art

A sketch of street art that would be commissioned by local artists and suspended above Ninth and Locust streets. (Photo courtesy of Arcturis consulting group)

A new survey has been posted online to gauge public sentiment of the ideas. Residents can also comment on the Downtown Gateway Project's Facebook page.

Another feature at Ninth and Locust streets would commission local artists for spherical art that would be suspended above the street.

Carrie Gartner, executive director of the Downtown Community Improvement District, said local artists, organizations or college students would be able to design the "bowls" that would be suspended on wires to tell their stories.


The four gateways of Columbia would present the city a local center and a hub for entertainment, education and culture. (Photo courtesy of Arcturis consulting group)

Gartner said the survey will be available for the next two weeks before Arcturis sees the results and meets with Community Improvement District representatives. Representatives include members of the improvement district board, the Downtown Leadership Council, MU, Columbia College, Stephens College and Second Missionary Baptist Church.

Gartner said the improvement district wanted to involve community members who would be neighbors of the gateway and who have valuable input on the project.

For the moment, the improvement district has its own sales tax funding, but Gartner said grant funding might be sought after plans are finalized.

"The timeline of the project depends on the feedback, but we plan to have the finalized proposals in April," Gartner said. "This is a long-term, multiyear project, in which these design plans are the first step before we get to engineering drafts."

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC: Click on the map markers to get more information about the specific aspects of the downtown gateways.

Missourian graphic by Sangyoon Jeong.

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