Second Ward voters on Tuesday will choose either 15-year Columbia City Council incumbent Chris Janku or his challenger, Brian Toohey, to guide their ward through inevitable growth and increased commercial development.
Janku, a lawyer who works in Jefferson City as director of programs for the Missouri Bar, said his balanced, low-key attention to constituents’ needs characterize his previous five terms as a councilman. He prides himself on working closely with neighborhood associations to understand residents’ concerns.
Other council members cite Janku’s strong institutional memory and ability to recall detailed discussions from previous years as an asset to the council.
To continue preparing the Second Ward for growth, Janku said he will push to widen Missouri 763, also known as Range Line Street, and to extend Providence Road.
Toohey, who is a Realtor with Prudential Visions Properties, also said that those road projects are two of his top priorities and that they have suffered from a lack of planning in the past 10 years. He said his main goal for the next three years is to find a way to catch up on those efforts.
It’s time for a new voice to be heard in the Second Ward, Toohey said, and because he works in the Second Ward — all of his current real estate listings are in his ward — he said he is exposed to more diverse ideas than those of the usual suspects who attend every meeting.
Toohey said he is happy with the nature of development in the Second Ward. The fact that homes sell quickly in the area indicates that ward residents and other Columbia residents are happy, too. He said the Second Ward needs to see more commercial development, like a grocery store, more restaurants and maybe a Target.
Similarly, Janku said development in the Second Ward has been of high quality. He said he’s ready to see some of the commercial developments that have come through the council during previous terms, such as a Mosers grocery store and a shopping center along Range Line Street, and looks forward to the new services they will provide.
Both candidates agree that preparing the Second Ward for growth and new business interests will be the theme for the next three years.