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Your Opinion: Former resident supports initiative

Your Opinion: Former resident supports initiative

February 5th, 2012 by Matt Vander Tuig, Columbia in News

Dear Editor:

As someone who grew up in Jefferson City, graduated from Jefferson City High School and the University of Missouri, and who now lives in Columbia and commutes to Jefferson City to work as a professional engineer, I urge residents of Jefferson City to vote yes to the Transform initiative.

This initiative is the biggest push for a plan to make Jefferson City competitive with other communities by bringing in young professionals and attracting big businesses that I have ever witnessed. It has obviously been developed in a focused, strategic way to encompass parking, transportation, and downtown revitalization. The evidence that it will provide for economic development is clear by the list of local businesses that support it. Many of these businesses were around since I was growing up in Jefferson City.

I also serve on the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission and as a representative of that commission on the Columbia Downtown Leadership Council. The result of the planning efforts of the Transform initiative shows an understanding of good planning practices by supporting the community's core place. By establishing revenue for these catalyst projects downtown, businesses will be attracted to downtown and redevelopment and a full development of downtown and its surrounding neighborhoods will follow.

I have witnessed this recently in downtown Columbia with three large apartment complex projects built within the last year and two other upcoming developments that the Planning and Zoning Commission will likely rezone in the near future.

A vote in support of downtown revitalization and growth is a vote for lower taxes in the long run I would argue because businesses are likely to relocate to the city's core where infrastructure is already present. Employment district type development and large generators of traffic on the outskirts of the city will result in more infrastructure to build and maintain.

Some may say that Columbia is different because of the University of Missouri and while that is true given the proximity to downtown and the size of the university, it is exciting to see that some of the projects on the Transform list are specific to Lincoln University.

Again, this is further evidence that those involved strategically developed the project list by understanding the important relationship between the state university and the city's economic vitality, something the City of Columbia has embraced for years.

The City of Jefferson would do very well by voting yes to the Transformation sales tax.