COLUMBIA — Here's a fast look at some of the things going on in Columbia's city government.

Dog art chosen for downtown traffic box

The 10th traffic box art project downtown will be done by Columbia artist and art teacher Brittany Williamson, the Standing Committee on Public Art has decided.

Traffic box art is intended to curtail graffiti. The Office of Cultural Affairs issued a call for design proposals for the box at Eighth and Cherry streets.

Williamson's design, which features abstract close-ups of different breeds of dog faces, incorporated the traffic box and a nearby utility box. She will have until October to complete it.

"It reflects the nature of downtown in an artistic way," Sarah Dresser, program specialist for the Office of Cultural Affairs, said. "It is a fun and whimsical design."

The work will cost $2,350.

Henderson Branch sewer coming to council again

The long-debated Henderson Branch sewer extension will be the subject of another public hearing at the May 15 meeting of the Columbia City Council.

The sewer project was part of a $32 million bond issue approved by voters in 2013, but the estimated cost has risen substantially since then.

If approved, the project would extend sewer service to the 1,300-acre Henderson Branch watershed west of Columbia and another 800 acres of nearby property. It would allow MidwayUSA, which manufactures and sells ammunition and shooting accessories, and the Midway Truck Stop and Travel Plaza, to connect with the city sewer system in exchange for annexing into the city.

The project has been a hot topic because of conflicting views on the idea of extending the city's reach. Critics have said extending the sewer would prompt further development of the Midway area and create a burden on the city to provide additional street maintenance and fire and police protection, according to previous Missourian reporting.

This project would entail either a gravity sewer costing an estimated $4.3 million, or a combination of gravity sewer and a lift station at a cost of $3.1 million. City staff has said the project is worthwhile because city sales and property taxes on the newly annexed property would eventually cover the cost.

The project was delayed when the City Council voted 3-3 on a motion to go forward with designs for the project. The council at the time directed City Manager Mike Matthes to continue negotiations on the project. MidwayUSA owner Larry Potterfield has since donated 47 acres and a $1 million house on Strawn Road to the city, but he said the gift was not connected to the sewer project.

Fire station public hearing 

Plans to remodel Fire Stations No. 4, 5, 6 and the fire training facility on Big Bear Boulevard will be the subject of a public hearing at the City Council's June 5 meeting.

The estimated cost for fixing up the fire stations is $1 million, and plans call for spending $500,000 at the fire training facility. The work would be paid for with capital improvement sales tax money.

The fire stations would receive new roofs, remodeled bathrooms and improved plumbing. The city also would upgrade their heating, ventilation and air conditioning and water softener systems.

The fire training facility is in line for a standalone storage building, a new roof, a water softener system and a heating, ventilation and air conditioning evaluation.

Hitt Street to be restricted this spring and summer

One lane of Hitt Street will be closed from May 15 through Aug. 4 due to steam chase work at MU. The City Council approved the closure on Monday.

Steam chases are underground tunnels that are part of the system that heats and cools the campus at MU, Campus Operations spokeswoman Karlan Seville said.

The project will cost MU about $6.75 million. It will entail steam chase repairs underneath Lowry Mall.

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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