A neighborhood makeover

A group of property owners
wants Boone County to update the area’s square-dance-inspired street names and mend its streets.
Sunday, January 18, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:55 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

When Square Circle resident Tasha Loggins orders a pizza, she’s often asked if her address is a joke.

Square Circle is a cul-de-sac off of Hoedown Drive where Loggins has lived in a rented, ranch-style duplex for nine years. The 21-year-old said she’s never been fond of the street name. She’s even more put off by the disrepair of the private street, which she said is hard on her car.

Both the square-dance-inspired street names given by the original developers and the condition of the street could be changing in the neighborhood, a collection of mostly rental properties, some of which are vacant, just outside southern Columbia near the end of Bethel Church Road.

Bruce Odle, who owns some of the rental units on Hoedown Drive, is one of 14 property owners who have petitioned Boone County to establish a neighborhood improvement district that would give the county responsibility for fixing the roads and billing property owners over 10 years for the estimated $143,000 in repairs.

If the neighborhood improvement district is approved, two property owners adjacent to Hoedown Drive would pay about $4,200 each, and the remaining 16 property owners would pay about $8,400 each, said John Watkins of the Boone County Public Works Department.

Odle also is asking the Boone County Commission to change the names of the two streets.

“I think they’re just corny names,” Odle said. “They don’t convey a professional, well-run neighborhood we’re trying to establish.”

Landscaping, refurbishing apartments, installing new roofs and replacing individual mailboxes with one larger mailbox are among the other changes Odle said are in the works. The improvements, Odle said, are designed, in part, to make the rental properties more attractive to college students.

Lisa Young, a mother with two children who said she moved into her apartment on Hoedown Drive in June, said there have been problems with drugs in the neighborhood; Loggins remembers police officers being called to deal with loud parties and fights. Both residents said the atmosphere in the neighborhood has improved in the past couple of months.

“It was quiet,” Loggins said. “A bunch of people moved in, it got rowdy, then all of a sudden it was quiet again.”

Odle and three other property owners have petitioned the county to change Square Circle to Whitewing Court and Hoedown Drive to Homebrook Drive.

The proposal was tabled last week by the Boone County Commission after a call from Quality Drywall Construction, a business on Hoedown Drive.

Connie Leipard, co-owner of the drywall business, said she wasn’t aware of the proposal until she saw it in a newspaper, adding that there were two other businesses and a church that also would be affected. She said her business has been on Hoedown Drive for more than 20 years and she’s concerned about the financial impact of the potential address change — changing computer programs, business cards and paperwork.

Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin expressed reservations about changing the street names during a commission meeting last week.

“It gives me an uneasy feeling,” Elkin said. “I don’t want to get in the habit of changing just because someone says I don’t like square dancing. There must be a very legitimate reason.”

Leipard said there will be a meeting with business and property owners to discuss the street name issue.

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