Vision Plan Strategies

Wednesday, September 12, 2007 | 5:54 p.m. CDT; updated 7:45 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008


Columbia residents will be asked at a Community Choices Open House on Thursday to select what they believe are the six most important strategies to pursue in creating the Columbia of the future. Here’s the list from which they will choose. Get a jump on the process by letting us know which ideas you would focus on.

Arts and Culture

Create an alliance for the arts that serves and advocates for artists, art professionals and art-related organizations by fostering an environment of collaboration and by providing ongoing training.

Identify and expand funding opportunities for the arts community.

Cultivate and implement cross-operational outreach programs that increase participation and reflect the city’s rich diversity.

Create an appetite and appreciation for the arts through educational programs.

Apply best practice community design aesthetics and environmentally friendly planning.

Expand arts programming and venues.

Community Character

Establish a landscape/tree board and implement landscaping politics, provide outreach and understanding and promote sustainable native and edible plantings.

Develop a streetscape plan through the use of landscape, site amenities, art and thematic elements to create memorable and attractive boulevards and streetscape (e.g. place utilities underground, clean up Business Loop 70 and Providence Road, regulate billboards and develop gateway/entry plan).

Establish neighborhood areas to feature distinct characteristic “looks,” guide development and improve property appearance and provide assistance to homeowners in order to foster neighborhood pride.

Develop a policy of identification, financial incentives such as tax abatement and tax credits and resources for monitoring to encourage historical preservation.

Seek federal preservation funds for use in community historic preservation.

Educate neighborhoods of their historic importance and of incentives available for historic preservation

Hold absentee or irresponsible landlords accountable for substandard property and housing (e.g. ensure code enforcers do their job and enact stronger ordinances using fines, fees and incarceration for enforcement as necessary.

Focus on renewable-energy building and retrofitting as integral to urban development and restoration.

Be proactive, creative and flexible about mixed-use zoning to encourage workable walking communities and expand opportunities for farmers, gardeners, restaurateurs, service providers and craft workers to sell and deliver produce and services.

Community Facilities & Services

Reduce crime and substance abuse.

Increase traffic law enforcement.

Establish additional facilities and service points to provide expanded library services for the growing community.

Use available technology to increase and improve city services offered to the community.

Provide comprehensive, efficient removal of snow throughout the city.

Investigate ways to enhance services and increase communication regarding services currently available.

Administer law enforcement fairly to all citizens.

Allocate police staffing and presence equitably.

Community Pride and Human Relations

Reorganize and expand the Human Rights Commission, review city policy statements regarding human rights and expand study circles.

Develop and implement awareness orientation and training programs for new and existing employees.

Form an Intercultural Council.

Explore the creation of a comprehensive centralized community calendar that is easily assessable and updateable. Research models in other communities.

Investigate, encourage and replicate events that bring various cross-section of the community together (e.g. “Spark in the Park”).

Create an entertaining, media-supported “trading places” project to promote improvements in cross-cultural, multi-ethnic, inter-generational communications and relationships.

Leverage Study Circle program to build consensus and vision among youth organization leadership.

Promote existing opportunities by creating a comprehensive Web page and developing a booklet to be distributed at no charge to kids and parents. Incorporate information on transportation and scholarship opportunities for programs.

Research interest in developing plans for a shared youth facility incorporating safe travel and an inclusive environment. Interview teen focus groups and observe successful models.


Take an inventory of natural and cultural resources.

Implement a growth management plan that incorporates form-based zoning.

Encourage infill and redevelopment through the use of a task force of stakeholders, a comprehensive list of potential sites, broader public education and attractive developer incentives.

Educate the public about growth management.

a. Prepare an annual report with metrics that help the public understand the pattern, pace, costs and benefits of Columbia’s growth.

b. Hold an annual meeting to share the report and invite public feedback.

c. Educate the public about zoning in areas where they own or plan to purchase property.

Develop a planning process that is comprehensive, coordinated and cooperative and includes all affected political subdivisions, taxing districts and other stakeholders.

Ensure predictability and accountability so that government actions are aligned with “Imagine Columbia’s Future.”

Incentivize LEED standards.

Provide comprehensive transportation planning to direct and support growth and to interconnect neighborhoods that will form as a result of formed-based zoning.

Ensure that as we grow we preserve our heritage and uniqueness.

Establish a city-county land preservation authority to:

a. Develop and administer a land preservation plan developed with public input.

b. Strengthen, enforce and create laws and regulations to preserve land consistent with this plan.

c. Acquire property or development rights to land deemed appropriate for preservation. Such land to be acquired by donation or purchase from willing sellers at fair market value, and not through condemnation.

Evaluate potential land preservation areas in Columbia and Boone County based on:

a. Agricultural use or potential.

b. Ecological, geological, and hydrological significance.

c. Scenic beauty.

d. Historical significance.

e. Protection of native wildlife, both plant and animal.

Develop funding mechanisms to finance land preservation such as:

a. Sales tax.

b. Land transactions tax.

c. Donations.

d. Grants.

e. Bonds.

f. Property tax incentives.

Use the city’s development planning process to promote socio-economically diverse, mixed-use neighborhoods that are supported by citywide bicycle, pedestrian and transit systems to reduce the need for automobile commuting.

Strengthen enforcement of ordinances that contribute to environmental soundness and sustainability, and those that safeguard neighborhoods against physical decay.

In neighborhoods where the quality of housing is declining because owners lack incentives or resources to maintain their property, direct community resources to encourage maintenance and rehabilitation.

Use a task force of stakeholders, supported by professionals, to develop a comprehensive plan for existing and future infrastructure needs that, (1) coordinates with a comprehensive growth plan, (2) streamlines the planning process, and (3) educates the public about the plan.

Redefine planning and zoning to make sure infrastructure implementation is aligned with the comprehensive growth plan.

Use a task force representative of the citizens of Columbia that is supported by professionals to establish guidelines for determining fair and balanced cost allocations and funding sources among stakeholders.


Create a new management organization through public-private partnerships whose core purpose is to make downtown a compelling city center in which to live, work, play, shop, study and invest.

Create an enhanced economic development strategy that acknowledges the link between economic prosperity and the central city, promoting Columbia as a “cultural, business, entertainment and educational center” for the region while attracting jobs, people and opportunities.

Create a climate where catalytic projects are financially feasible using appropriate incentives and funding sources.

Follow up on the implementation strategies of the Sasaki Opportunity Study, including creation of the implementation entity Missouri Downtown Economic Stimulus Act, in order to facilitate the development of new housing downtown.

Contact Realtors, retailers, developers and financial sources to assess the barriers and opportunities to downtown housing development.

Establish a baseline of existing traffic information including the mobility of vehicles, bicyclists, pedestrians, buses, delivery trucks, and the use of existing parking assets. Develop recommendations based upon findings.

Research similar cities with respect to efficient use of assets (alleyways, walkways, bike paths, parking spaces, etc.) for considerations for plans for Columbia.

Economic Development

Promote positive attitudes toward economic development.

Leverage Columbia’s natural advantages — MU, Columbia’s location and environment and Columbia’s people — in fostering economic development

Promote entrepreneurialism.

Enhance the future use of the airport by improving its appearance and functionality.

Increase connectivity by flying to major airline hubs and adding other airlines with a variety of flight times.

Establish a regional authority and change the name of the airport to reflect its regional nature.

Address issues related to pay, living wage and benefits.

Offer targeted trainings and establish a clearinghouse to track and promote training opportunities.

Develop innovative strategies for connecting the workforce.

Create a Regional Science and Technology Network (RSTN) with access to the distinctive business and technical competencies needed to identify, develop and launch entrepreneurial high tech businesses in our area (e.g. a “Springboard Program”).

Develop the necessary infrastructure to support emerging technology industries, including high-tech business parks, community Internet access and a skilled workforce.

Attract and secure substantial research and venture capital to drive our economic growth.


Appoint a Community Educational Facilities Commission, made up of representatives from the public and private sectors, for the purpose of inventorying public and private education buildings and grounds, assessing the public and private education facilities needs for the next 25 years, determining the costs of meeting those needs, examining and recommending options for generating necessary revenue and exploring opportunities for the shared usage of their facilities.

Ensure that resources are allocated so that students are supported and successful at every level of education from birth through adulthood.

Increase the quality and quantity of early childhood (birth to 5 years) educational opportunities so that children are prepared for kindergarten.

Organize to ensure that world-class curriculum, programs and institutional techniques are provided by every educational entity, based on research findings.

Develop programs for all educational providers within the Columbia community to network, share educational strategies and techniques and encourage professional development.

Emphasize quality education as a community value by fostering volunteer service-related/hands-on learning projects for students and assisting residents in identifying volunteer opportunities in the educational community.


Develop an environmental protection plan.

Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty and critical environmental areas using techniques promoted by the International City/County Management Association’s publication, co-produced with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Getting to the Smart Growth: 100 Policies for Implementation.”

Form a Natural Resources Committee.

Engage in a lifelong understanding of the value of environmental stewardship.

Reach a goal of zero waste through both increased recycling and reduced consumption throughout Columbia.

Create an encouraging atmosphere for business opportunities based on environmental stewardship.

Invest in environment efficiency and renewable energy to protect Columbia’s economy from energy dollar outflow (e.g. implement a Public Benefits Fund, increase renewable energy targets, expand the use of energy efficient technologies, etc.).

Educate the public in areas of energy conservation, renewable energy resources, climate change and economic implications of energy uses. (e.g. create a citywide Energy Awareness Program, offer homeowners workshops, etc.).

Enact regulations and adopt policies to implement better, more efficient technologies (e.g. create a city Department of Energy Efficiency and Environmental Quality, adhere to LEED principles, etc.).


Create a responsive integrated city system with clear access points to direct inquiries, suggestions and complaints.

Create and implement a city customer service policy that includes a tracking system. Each department should tailor its plan accordingly.

Enhance collaboration between city departments.

Enhance and facilitate the use of neighborhood associations.

Establish a system of ongoing reviews of the activities of boards, commissions and task forces.

Increase the size of the City Council and provide compensation and other support to council members.

Anticipate future needs and review and determine the best way to finance city operations, improvements and infrastructure over the next 20 to 25 years.

Increase the accountability of the city administration to the City Council and the public.

Increase collaboration and coordination between the city and the county.

Health, Social Services & Affordable Housing

Identify and establish effective, readily available comprehensive health services (physical, mental, oral, substance abuse, vision) for all. Develop a strategic plan for Assertive Community Treatment in Columbia, focused on mental health. Document primary health-care access needs and barriers.

Use health care promoters to educate people and help them obtain appropriate care. The focus will be on diabetes education and prevention.

Foster health literacy by strengthening inter-organizational and community relationships. Design and deliver a coordinated, creative multi-media communications program focused initially on diabetes.

Establish a community foundation funded by private dollars to fund social services and other community needs.

Raise standards of performance and measurements of accountability for all community services throughout the city and county. Include mechanisms for annual program review, participant feedback and determining unmet needs.

Establish a locally administered Housing Trust Fund with a dedicated revenue source.

Implement incentive zoning that encourages residential developers to provide a percentage of affordable units within newly constructed communities.

Create a private non-profit organization that will develop, purchase, and manage affordable housing units in Columbia.

Parks, Recreation & Greenways

Examine existing park networks and identify gaps in the different defined types of parks (neighborhood, regional, nature and urban).

Develop an overall plan to make sure as many park needs as possible are met without unnecessary duplication.

Provide incentives to encourage public and private cooperation/collaboration to acquire and develop additional parks and facilities.

Expand the program of volunteers to help support the parks (e.g. Adopt-a-Park).

Investigate a land dedication ordinance to set aside parkland and open space in new developments.

Facilitate the marriage of private and public interest groups to build recreation facilities.

Be proactive in expanding facilities as Columbia grows.

Use easements and development rights to promote the preservation of green space and the development of greenways.

Acquire green space and expand greenways through regular financing and acquisitions.

Coordinate efforts of different interest groups to develop and fund a multi-use trail network, using sidewalks where trails are not feasible.

Achieve trail connectivity in new and existing developments.


Appoint a Transportation Advisory Board, which will be empowered by the City Council to make recommendations to (and whose recommendations will be sought by) the City Council, the Planning & Zoning Commission and other public bodies.

Institute a program to provide ongoing public education (adult and child) on road rules and safety tips. Suggestions include: distribution and installation of reflectors and lights for bikes, permanent signage displaying reminders of rules and tips and advertising (newspaper, billboard, mailing) of rules and tips.

Give proper funding, priority and support to repairing, connecting and expanding the city sidewalk system. Increase the pace of sidewalk improvements.

Encourage the long-term growth of non-motorized transportation habits and skills by ensuring that all local residential streets receive either sidewalks or traffic calming elements. This will allow both children and adults to safely walk or wheel around their neighborhoods and develop healthy transportation habits.

Dedicate funds to identify routes and corridors for all modes, preserve rights of way and improve existing intersections to enhance safety and improve capacity.

Establish a protocol to coordinate all transportation, sanitary sewer and other utilities. This protocol should address both minimizing future utility conflicts and managing land use.

Identify large traffic generators and use Missouri Department of Transportation and city of Columbia modeling to identify origin and destination and also provide additional seats on CATSO.

Develop and adopt a clear areawide major roadway plan that carries the commitment of the city and county.

Establish a city-county partnership for necessary funding and construction of the roadway system, including all alternate funding sources and private development.

Maximize the capacity of existing roadway systems by having the city and county adopt and implement programs for traffic-signal optimization, intersection improvements, turn lanes, effective access management, etc.

Appoint a strong subcommittee of the Transportation Advisory Board (as described in the Transportation Action Plan) to study and develop recommendations for an innovative public and human services transportation system.

Tie public transportation service into the permanent process for new developments.

Expand the public transit system and identify and fill in existing gaps in that system to include longer hours of service, more frequent service and greater coverage of the city.

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