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Your Opinion: Campaign co-chairs outline opportunities

Your Opinion: Campaign co-chairs outline opportunities

February 5th, 2012 by Phil Freeman and Ken Hussey, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

On Feb. 7, we have the opportunity to move our community forward.

Transform Jefferson City is the result of two years of planning, research and discussion about taking advantage of the opportunities we have in our community to create a better quality of place for ourselves and future generations. Proposition 1 will fund 30 specific projects, with most completed in the next five years, generating energy and momentum to jumpstart our local economy and enhance our prospects for future growth.

Public funding is just the start. Most of these projects will generate opportunities for private development that will further enhance our economy.

Currently, the historic buildings at MSP are not being renovated and falling into further disrepair, jeopardizing our successful historic tours. Transform Jefferson City will provide resources to restore these structures, ensure tours continue for many more years, and make this a thriving area in our community.

In January 2015, the existing St. Mary's site will become vacant and be an underutilized structure at one of the most prominent locations in the city. Lincoln University has a two-year waiting list for its nursing program, and lacks space available on its main campus to expand many programs. Transform Jefferson City will help renovate almost half of the square footage for a prospective developer, helping Lincoln grow its programs and student population, while ensuring this core structure remains a key anchor in our community.

Without a conference center, Jefferson City continues to be passed over for regional and statewide conferences, missing out on tens of thousands of visitors who would spend money in our local businesses and restaurants. Transform Jefferson City will provide additional funding for exhibition space and aesthetic improvements to the conference center. Meeting planners told the Action Teams that these two components are essential to be successful.

Downtown businesses and residents struggle with insufficient parking nearby, stifling growth and economic momentum. Transform Jefferson City will provide funding for a new parking garage, adding over 350 parking spaces adjacent to downtown and help spur further development in the area.

These are things our community needs to do now. We cannot wait for the private sector to shoulder all the burdens. We cannot wait for state government. It is time for our community to combine energies and enthusiasm to get this done.

We encourage you to vote yes Feb. 7 to Transform Jefferson City!