A request to change the name of Rice Road east of Ballenger Lane to enhance the reputation of the area is among the items up for a public hearing and vote by the Columbia City Council on Monday night.

Daniel Burks and Dave Drane of D&D Investments, who are developing a single-family residential neighborhood along the section of street in question, have asked the city for permission to rename the road Geyser Boulevard. The Columbia Planning & Zoning Commission voted 6-2 against the name change at its Nov. 7 meeting.

The section of Rice Road west of Ballenger Lane has been the scene of frequent shots fired incidences and other crimes, including a Sept. 22 double homicide that claimed the lives of Antonio Lasha Houston, 36, and Danielle Beverly-Mae Marine, 33, and the Oct. 19 shooting death of 13-year-old Dajion Harris.

Burks and Drane said in a Sept. 30 letter to the city asking for the name change that they are hoping to invest in and reinvigorate the neighborhood and that they feel a different name for the mile-long section of Rice Road between Ballenger Lane and Lake of the Woods Road would help.

“This request is just one part of our intent to improve the overall condition and reputation of the neighborhood and (we) believe that it will take the collective participation of all owners and residents to continually improve this area as a safe, welcoming and vibrant community,” the letter said.

Burks and Drane are building “moderately priced” single-family homes along the street. They said in their letter that they contacted as many owners and residents of properties abutting Rice Road between Ballenger and Lake of the Woods as possible to gauge their interest in the name change. Of the 110 property owners or residents they contacted, 88.1% were supportive, they said.

If the council approves the name change, property owners and residents will have to file changes of address at no cost. The city would have to replace 13 street signs at a cost of $100 apiece, according to a memo to the council.

In other action Monday night, the council will:

  • Appoint seven people to the newly created Sports Commission. Two will be members of sports clubs, two will represent the lodging industry and one each will represent small to midsize employers, large employers and citizens at large. The commission will work with the Convention and Visitors Bureau and other entities to attract tournaments and other sporting events to town.
  • Hold a public hearing and vote on $200,000 in proposed improvements to Strawn Park in western Columbia. The park is home to the Harmony Bends Disc Golf Course, which has been rated the No. 1 course in the country. Planned improvements include a precast concrete restroom, a 26-car parking lot, a practice disc golf basket and accessible walkways.
  • Hear a request to replat the Columbia Mall property to allow for construction of a Tru Hotel by Hilton on the southwest corner of Bernadette Drive and Stadium Boulevard.
  • Consider a letter from the Youth Advisory Council citing its concern about youths’ use of flavored vaping products and asking the City Council to consider regulating their sale.

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the council chambers at the Daniel Boone City Building, 701 E. Broadway.

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