Council to vote on fairground use

Monday, February 16, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 9:33 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 3, 2008

After more than four years of deliberation over the future of the Boone County Fairground, the Columbia City Council tonight is poised to put its stamp of approval on a master plan for how the county should proceed with developing the property as a park and recreational complex.

A resolution on tonight’s agenda calls for the council to endorse Option III, which includes three ponds, a lake, several athletic fields, trails, shelters and an ice hockey and roller rink.

“We’ve had focus groups, public forums and surveys,” Boone County Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin said. “We feel that Option III addresses the needs expressed by these public sessions.”

The county commission endorsed Option III during a joint meeting with the City Council in November.

The council reviewed the plan during a Feb. 5 work session.

Boone County bought 134 acres of the fairground in October 1999 for $2.59 million, days after Columbia businessman Tom Atkins had purchased 80 acres of the property. In December 2002, Atkins donated those 80 acres to both the city and the county with the intent that the two work together to develop the land for public recreation, according to a staff report to the City Council from City Manager Ray Beck.

The resolution, according to Beck’s memo, clarifies that the city is making no financial commitment to the project and that city officials expect to have continued input on development of the Atkins property.

If the council endorses Option III as expected, county officials will explore funding alternatives for projects proposed in the plan.

“Approval is the first step,” Elkin said. “We will keep moving forward and look to find revenue sources to get some of these projects going.”

Also tonight, the council is scheduled to:

n Discuss and either approve or reject the proposed annexation and zoning of the 489-acre Philips farm southeast of Columbia.

Developer Elvin Sapp is proposing a mix of residential, commercial and office uses on the land, and city officials are negotiating for the purchase of 130 acres of the property for parkland.

Several other hearings on rezoning requests are also scheduled.

  • Hold a public hearing on the proposed construction of a sidewalk along Business Loop 70 between Creasy Springs Road and Garth Avenue.
  • Consider an ordinance that would authorize calling for bids on the planned reconstruction of Garth Avenue from Bear Creek to Blue Ridge Road.

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