Brick street ordinance revised for public opinion

Mar 18, 2014

Credit orinjuice / flickr

City Council presented an amended bill at yesterday evening’s City Council meeting concerning the protection, repairs, and restoration of Columbia’s historic brick roads.

Council Bill PR 229-13, which had been heavily discussed between Columbia’s Historical Preservation Commission and the Disability Commission, protects brick roads in parts of downtown, areas of Mizzou, and east campus.

While the Historical Preservation Commission wishes to maintain Columbia’s iconic roads, the Disability Commission argues that the brick streets are unsafe and unfair for Columbia’s handicapped community. According to member Cherly Price, the commission has stated concern for the ordinance since it was first brought forward a year ago.

“The Disability Commission doesn’t want anything more for people with disabilities, we want equal and we’d like equal access, and the brick streets right now do not provide equal access.”

Price said conversations between the two commissions came about after new chairman Chuck Graham reached out to the Historical Preservation Commission.

The compromise came in the revision of wording regarding funding for the uncovering of brick streets. Before the amendments were made, the bill read “funding as indicated in section 2.v. shall be allocated during each budget cycle…” After discussion between both commissions the bill was revised to say “funding as indicated in section 2.v. may, after a successful demonstration project, also be allocated during each budget cycle…” This revision allows for citizens to determine what brick uncovering they do or do not want to occur.  

Price says the Disability Commission will being doing a demonstration project that will analyze the current safety of already uncovered bricks before the city moves forward on talk of uncovering more brick roads.

During yesterdays meeting 3rd Ward Council Member Karl Skala said the one profound change in the bill was the swap between “shall” and “may”. He says this will provide flexibility and the voice of the public to be heard.

Both city council members and Price gave thanks for each other’s patience and willingness to compromise on such a controversial bill.