Your Opinion: Proposal transforms talk into action

Dear Editor:

Growing up in Jefferson City, I have always loved this community for the caring, generous people that live here and I am fortunate enough to see that spirit on a daily basis. If you talk with anyone though, our town is known for being very conservative. For years our community has talked about creating a more vibrant downtown, renovating the MSP site, and redeveloping the Millbottom area. I wanted to make sure that this new effort was not just going to end up all talk and no action.

That was the reason I became involved with the Lincoln Action Team along with 50 other community members who were interested in transformation. We attended countless meetings, working directly with Lincoln staff and Linn State staff to try and make a plan to have a higher education presence at the St. Mary’s Redevelopment site. We created plans that would include doubling the size of Lincoln University’s state of the art nursing program (which currently has a waiting list) and adding programs like health informatics, culinary arts, a children’s discovery center, and an innovation center to help our institutions collaborate to make a beneficial relationship for all involved.

St. Mary’s Redevelopment is also a project that symbolizes how this sales tax can leverage private equity. By supporting needed incentives to have a large presence of students and staff in more than a third of the 300,000-square-foot site, it will give new businesses and entrepreneurs a more realistic chance to invest in the remaining property, making it a sustainable project. Without the Transformation process, St. Mary’s could end up being another vacant building in the exact core of our city.

Our community has talked and surveyed many of these ideas for years, and I am excited that there is finally a plan to move them forward. I ask for voters to please learn about all the projects and their details. Go to www. transformjeffersoncity.com, attend a tri-weekly open house, or talk with someone who has been a part of the process.

After becoming involved in this process, I went from being pessimistic about anything happening to extremely optimistic. I am excited about the possibilities of the “Transform Jefferson City” plan and the quality of life it will give to our entire community.

That is why I will vote yes on Feb. 7th.

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