The Downtown Community Improvement District is seeking the Columbia City Council's approval of an agreement to build a Gateways Plaza at the southeast corner of Providence Road and Broadway.

A memorandum of understanding setting out expectations was introduced at Monday's City Council meeting. The memorandum is a non-binding contract that states the intent of the city and the district to commit time and financial resources toward the project.

The Plaza is part of the Community Improvement District's  Gateways Project, which is a combination of public art, street decoration and enhanced pedestrian safety. The plaza is meant to be a public gathering space that people from the community can enjoy.

The Plaza is the largest and most visible project. It would be the third phase because it requires more time to plan, design and build.

The Downtown CID has a fundraising goal of $1 million for the project.

District Executive Director Katie Essing said a plan is in place to raise the money.

“In addition to sponsoring the master planning process and the construction of the first light hubs,” she said, “the CID has established a dedicated Gateways fund, to which the CID has routinely added $100,000 per year.”

Essing said the Gateways fund will total $450,000 by the end of fiscal 2018.

“The Downtown CID Board has committed to continue to budget $100,000 annually toward the project, up to $1 million," Essing said. “The CID also has a partnership with the Columbia Foundation, a registered nonprofit organization, to facilitate fundraising.”

Both the district and the city have agreed that Gateways Plaza will be owned and maintained by the city.

A final master plan will be presented for approval in fall 2019. The district's board would like to partner with the city to design and build the Gateway Plaza as part of Founders Park.

Key design elements will include a signature sculpture of the word "Columbia" and heritage columns to reflect the community's history. There will also be accessible ramps, seating, landscaping and lighting to enhance the public space.

Supervising editors are Mike Jenner and Scott Swafford.

  • I am a Missourian general assignment and public life reporter for Fall 2017.

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