Columbia’s visioning plan is a broad long-term blueprint for the city created by citizens with the help of an outside consulting firm. The plan sets out more than 100 strategies for community improvement in a 255-page report. A Vision Commission was created and has been charged with monitoring implementation and ensuring the community’s vision is carried out. The commission’s first meeting was held Jan. 6, 2009.

Major topics considered during the visioning process include downtown redevelopment, economic development and various environmental issues.

Local voters said their top six priorities were to:

Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty and critical environmental areas.

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

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

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.

Create a Regional Science and Technology Network (RSTN) with access to distinctive business and technical competencies needed to identify, develop and launch entrepreneurial high tech businesses.

Promote positive attitudes toward economic development.

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