In true Columbia fashion, I’m a transplant. I’ve lived here for almost five years straight now, but my ties to the town started much earlier — before I was born, even. Both my parents went to MU in the ’70s, though they didn’t meet until 1989. My mom hung out at Harpo’s and the Stein Club on Broadway, while my dad spent his nights at the Heidelberg. My mom says that’s where all the nerds went. My aunt always went to the old Shack when she was here. My parents’ first date was at Harpo’s, Harvest Moon and then, mortifyingly, a dance club called Spanky’s. Ugh.
My family has watched Columbia grow and change, and I have watched Columbia transform before my own eyes. The town is exciting, thriving. I’ve worked at local news services, concert venues and coffee shops. Every place has an invigorating energy.
It’s that restless energy, though, that has spurred quick development and rapid change. I love the idea of more businesses coming to Columbia, but it’s clear our lust for advancement has outpaced our capacity to grow. For me, this awareness started with the Garage Majal construction at Fifth and Walnut. The City Council’s handling of the Opus Development deal further proves this point. There just isn’t enough Columbia to go around — at least downtown.
Our sister publication, the Columbia Missourian, quoted Repeal 6214 spokesman Jeremy Root as saying: “I hope that council and city staff understand that citizens are vigilant, particularly with their downtown. Projects that interfere with our vision for downtown will come under scrutiny.” And after all my time spent with this town, I have to say it’s worth protecting.