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Columbia Parks to Continue Additional Funding

Residents met at city hall Tuesday to voice concerns about the EEZ program.
Residents met at city hall Tuesday to voice concerns about the EEZ program.

After a single issue faced voters last night at the polls, the Parks and Recreation Department of Columbia will continue to receive additional funding from the city’s sales tax.

After a 70%- 30% vote in favor for passing Proposition 1, the department will now have an around additional $18.4 million to spend on projects that are not otherwise covered by the original operating budget. The single-issue ballot drew 8554 residents to vote on the measure, which accounted for about 12.5% of registered voters in Columbia.

The tax has been approved twice in the past, once in 2005, and again in 2010. It is part of the quarter-cent parks sales tax adopted by voters in 2000. The other eighth-cent of the tax is permanent.

The money can go to maintaining many of the bigger ticket items that otherwise would not be covered such as roofs or decks according to Director of Parks Department Mike Griggs.

“It’s all about taking care of what we already have,” Griggs says.

The extra money will also help develop facilities for sporting tournaments during the summer while MU is not in session which will help generate income to Columbia restaurants and hotels.

Citizen Committee Co- Chair Randy Boehm says 50% of this extra money will go to maintaining trails and parks that are already there but hopes there will still be growth.

“I hope the department, and I know they will, continue to do a marvelous job of maintaining and keeping up to speed the parks and trails we have and then continue to expand those as our community grows.”

The other co- chair to the committee, Heather Hargrove, also believes the extra money will be put to good use.

“I believe the percentage of citizens that use the parks and trail system is right at 92% and so you’re talking about of all of the available amenities in our city the parks and trail system is one that’s most widely used,” Hargrove says.

Committee members also say the money will benefit tourism to the city of Columbia, but the effect will also be felt positively by the residents as well.

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