Bull Street Agreement Moves Forward


By Rochelle Dean


For more than 6 hours residents, business leaders and city officials debated the Bull Street Agreement inside the Earlewood Community Center leaving standing room only.

The packed crowd was full of mixed reactions about taking a step forward with the more than 31 million dollar project that could take up to 10 years to complete.

Some said it was tome to move past all the talk about the agreement and begin taking action. Others, urging Columbia City Council members to table to idea to buy more time to allow the public to find out more about the plan for the former state mental health facility.

Amidst concerns, the measure eventually passed 4 to 2 in favor of the project.

Councilwoman Leona Plaugh raised concerns about how the project would be paid for. "I can see the promise and the wonderful opportunities for this development to be successful. I struggle still with being able to see the stepping stone to get there financially."

Mayor Steve Benjamin however calling it a monumental night that residents will one day look back over and be proud of. " the promise of 11 thousand jobs, I believe the promise of restoring the use of the structure is a monumental undertaking...at some point we've got to move forward, and we've got to move forward boldly."

During the meeting the Mayor did discuss options on the table to fund the project which will be broken up in phases. Some of those options included the use of money from the city water system, public and private partnerships and revenue generated from parking garages city officials plan on building downtown.

Either way the Mayor says " we can fund this project, we can and we will do this."

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