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Why Columbia? – location, Quality of Life, Cost of Living, Resources, Publications, Surrounding Communities.
Expand & Relocate – Demographics, Economic Indicators, Transportation, Utilities, Business Development, Financing, Taxes & Incentives, Buildings and Sites, Labor and Workforce.
Entrepreneurship – Mizzou Advantage, Financing.
Economic Sectors – Education, Life Sciences, Human and Animal Health, Information Technology, Insurance, Major/Largest Employers, Columbia Reference Guide 2012.
- Growth and Development On July 5, 2005, the City Council approved the largest voluntary annexation of land in city history: an 805-acre swath east of Highway 63 owned by developer Billy Sapp. But even before that, growth south and north of town has long been visible in the form of new housing developments, strip malls and big box stores. Some have speculated that someday Columbia’s borders may extend all the way to the Missouri River. Many of the other issues the city faces can be traced back to rampant growth. The question of growth polarizes community residents and raises all kinds of philosophical questions: should (and can) growth continue in Columbia or should it be contained (and how)? What’s driving it? Who should pay for it and how, and is it changing the city’s character for the worse?
- Government and Leadership Much about the political scene in Columbia is in flux. Several long-time city officials¿including the city manager¿had retired or announced retirement in mid-2005. Who will replace them and what does it mean for the city? The issue of government is crucial as well because of the growth issue; many feel the county and city governments aren’t working closely or well enough on that issue or any others.
- Crime With growth comes crime. The story of convicted murderer Stephen Rios was just the most high-profile example of a phenomenon that authorities feel is on the rise. Editors note that stories about shots fired, especially in Columbia’s First Ward, are becoming more prevalent. Methamphetamine labs are sprouting here as elsewhere in the state. Who and/or what is behind the rise in crime? And what can be done about it? The question of crime is also related to continuing efforts by a number of groups in the city to reach out to teenagers and children, especially among the underprivileged.
- Environment/transportation With Interstate 70 and Highway 63 running through it, Columbia has long been a transportation crossroads for the state. But the issue of its tiny airport (too expensive for many to use) has cropped up as the city has grown, as have issues of traffic jams and public transportation. The city’s bus system has improved, but is it enough given all the growth in areas such as the south part of town, where almost everyone relies on cars to get to work? Related to transportation issues and growth are environmental questions. How are the city’s air and streams affected by it all?
- University issues The city’s largest employer, the University of Missouri, continues to wrestle with budget cuts and questions surrounding its mission as a land-grant institution, as a research institution and as an arts and sciences college. Controversies surrounding athletics simmer and occasionally boil over. As with city government, leadership seems constantly in flux. What will the MU of the future look like? And what does that mean for Columbia?