Columbia College, Bear Creek Prairie and YouZeum, which opens in 2006, are the recipients of Smart Growth 2005 awards, which honor efforts to revitalize urban communities.
Smart Growth awards are given to buildings in their planning stages. Boone County’s Smart Growth Coalition rewards buildings that it sees as helping to maintain a strong, vibrant central community, to reduce public spending by building upon existing infrastructure and to help prevent blight in urban neighborhoods, said Barbara Hoppe, co-chairwoman of the coalition.
“They have been a strong anchor in central downtown Columbia, preserving historical buildings and keeping them well-maintained,” Hoppe said, referring to Columbia College. “We just wanted to acknowledge their good work.”
The $4 million to $5 million renovation of Columbia College’s Missouri Hall will begin in January, said Gerald Brouder, president of the college.
Brouder, who is expected to accept the award at tonight’s Boone County Commission meeting, said the college also plans on building a science laboratory.
He said the community is welcome to participate in planning the laboratory, which is expected to be completed in three to four years.
“Whenever we are going to change footprints, whether that’s an addition of a new building or acquisition of new properties, we will always involve those in and around the campus before taking such a step,” he said.
Hoppe also praised YouZeum, an interactive science museum set to be housed in the Federal Building, for its accessibility by foot, bike and bus.
“Instead of being built on the edge of town, it’s being built where the infrastructure already exists,” Hoppe said.
Bear Creek Prairie, a housing subdivision planned for northern Columbia, was chosen because its building preserves glacial prairie and woods, Hoppe said. Construction of Bear Creek Prairie is scheduled to begin next spring, co-developer Sherri DeRousse said.
“It is a great balance of providing housing and development yet preserving the natural assets of the land at the same time,” Hoppe said.
Smart Growth, founded in 2000, consists of 14 organizations, including the League of Women Voters, Hinkson Creek Valley Neighborhood Association and Sustainable Farms and Communities.