Columbia Housing Authority ARPA allocation to be finalized Monday

Columbia City Council’s two newest members Nick Knoth and Don Waterman after their swearing-in Friday are facing a stacked agenda for their first meeting on the council Monday.

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Among various agenda items are a land annexation, and approving action plans for how the city will spend Community Development Block Grant and HOME funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

A significant item, though, is finalizing the allocation of $2 million through American Rescue Plan Act funds to the Columbia Housing Authority for its planned rebuild of Park Avenue housing. The council established the commitment in September.

More:Columbia Housing Authority seeks tax credits for Park Avenue housing construction project

The city will provide the $2 million as a no-interest, forgivable loan. The terms of the loan are written to ensure housing costs remain affordable for the next 20 years, a staff memo read.

CHA also has received a funding commitment from Boone County of $5 million in ARPA funds and the state through $15 million in low-income housing tax credits.

The newest CHA development Kinney Point is expected to break ground and start construction next month. As that project progresses, CHA has plans to temporarily move residents from Park Avenue to Kinney Point so construction can start on the Park Avenue project.

Park Avenue housing was built in 1964 and has exceeded its life cycle, the council memo noted.

“The existing units have significant problems with collapsing sewer lines, foundation problems, and electrical issues.Additionally, there is a need for improved accessibility and energy efficiency,” the memo read, also noting the number of housing units will increase from its current 70 to 79 once rebuilt.

Future Whitegate Park

Another major decision coming to the council in the next couple of weeks will be approval of a new neighborhood Park on Whitegate Drive in the city’s Third Ward. A public meeting was held at the proposed park site in November.

A rendering of possible amenities for Whitegate Neighborhood Park.

More:Here is what amenities are included in Columbia’s Whitegate Park proposal

A resolution on Monday’s consent agenda will set a public hearing, likely for the May 1 meeting. A separate bill under first reading will establish the ordinance allowing construction to move forward. An overhead view map of proposed amenities is nearly identical to one presented in November, just with fewer trees.

The ordinance also establishes a relationship with the JBS Hometown Strong Initiative, which is providing half of the $400,000 project budget. JBS is the parent company of Swift Prepared Foods and by extension Principe Italia, which cut the ribbon on its new Italian meats processing plant on Route B/Paris Road last week. The other half is coming from the Parks and Recreation Budget through revenue collected from the Parks sales tax.

The roughly 2-acre plot of land was acquired by the city in 2018 and was identified as a potential park space by the city 10 years ago in its Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Master Plan.

Charles Dunlap covers local government, community stories and other general subjects for the Tribune. You can reach him at or @CD_CDT on Twitter. Subscribe to support vital local journalism.

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