The Columbia City Council on Monday discussed the recent death of George Floyd, a black man who died while being detained by a white police officer in Minneapolis, and their commitment to avoiding a similar situation here.
“This violence is unacceptable,” Mayor Brian Treece said. "It is our responsibility to break down systems of institutional racism, and we will continue doing that."
Treece reminded the council of a resolution passed in April 2018 called the principles of community that affirmed the city’s commitment to diversity and racial equality.
Police Chief Geoff Jones spoke about how the nationwide conversation since Floyd’s death has impacted his department.
“Last week, I went to work for the first time and saw police officers angry,” he said. “They’re angry because they agree with the message that there needs to be protests. They’re angry because that’s not how we police in Columbia.”
Jones said that he did not condone the actions of the police officer who killed George Floyd or the actions of the three police officers who watched it happen and did not intervene. He also promised accountability within his department and to work towards change.
“What happened in Minneapolis cannot happen here,” he said. “Not in the sense that it is impossible, but in the sense that we cannot allow it to.”
In other action, the council authorized the city manager to negotiate and execute a contract with Nabholz Constrution to design and build the new terminal at Columbia Regional Airport.
Nabholz Construction gave the lowest bid — about $20.5 million — of the three companies that bid on the work. Representatives from Burns and McDonnell showed the council artist renderings, floor plans and other information on the three designs that made the short list.
The company also received the most votes from the public in a survey. They received 954 votes out of 2,287 total votes.
Dave Hadel with Burns and McDonnell noted how engaged the public was in this project.
“This project means a lot to the community,” he said.
The council also approved a $6.8 million construction project on Discovery Drive. The project will connect the east end of Discovery Parkway at the Discovery Drive intersection to Rolling Hills Road just south of the intersection with New Haven Road.
This involves adding about 7,715 feet of new roadway. The new road will include two driving lanes, two bridges, an underpass, bike lanes and an 8-foot-wide sidewalk. Construction is expected to begin next spring.
The council approved improvements to Worley Street Park. These include replacing an existing playground structure, a block retaining wall and a drinking fountain; redoing the stripes on the basketball court; and renovating existing fencing and park benches.
The council also voted to annex a property on the southeast corner of Route WW and Elk Park Drive and a property located on the north side of Mexico Gravel Road and west of Highway PP.
The council voted to authorize an agreement with RubinBrown LLP to perform an audit for the low price of $21,000.