Regional Economic Development Inc., or REDI, proposed an Enhanced Enterprise Zone in Columbia in February. The state program offers tax incentives to businesses investing in economically depressed areas. On Monday, Columbia City Council voted to throw out the original proposal, and possibly start the process over. It’s not yet clear whether the same area would be proposed for an EEZ, but KBIA’s Sarah Redohl analyzed the old data to see how it measured up to the blight designation. She explains the original proposal didn’t include some of Columbia’s poorest neighborhoods.
The City Council passed Resolution 20-12A to declare some parts of Columbia as “blighted” in February. While the blight decree caused a large amount of backlash from Columbia residents, it was the legality of the resolution that caught the council’s attention.
The President of the United States may not be on the ballot, but there is still an important election in Columbia Tuesday. Voters in Columbia’s second and sixth wards will be electing new City Council members, while the rest of the city will vote on two new school board members and new tax levies. Columbia resident David Harrison said he'll stick to voting on the issues.
“The school bond issues, my ward is not even in the elections this time. I am mostly just voting for the school bonds and the levies,” Harrison said.
This is KBIA’s special coverage of the race for Columbia’s second ward city council seat, which is up for grabs in the election on April 3rd. KBIA reporters caught up with all three of the candidates, and here are their stories:
Concerns about a “blight” designation in the city of Columbia are continuing to come out in public forums. Issues such as using outdated census data from the year 2000, incorporating the first ward in the blighted zone, and potential employment of felons in the new “blighted” areas are among concerns being raised.