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New land could stimulate Boonville economy

Boonville could see more economic growth and redevelopment in the near future.

On Monday the City Council voted unanimously to annex 311 acres of land into the city.

The land is just off Interstate 70 at exit 106. It stretches about a mile down Highway 87 and extends as far back as Highway 98.

Bill Rapp manages Hail Ridge Golf Course, which until recently was on the outskirts of Boonville.

He and the property owner have wanted to develop that land for years and build houses and businesses.

He said in order to do that, the land needed to be in within the city.

“We knew that being in the city limits would bring the water that we needed for the fire hydrants, the police protection that we need,” he said. “We just knew the developments would be harder if we weren’t in the city limits.”

Some residents who live on the land opposed the plan, and wanted to keep freedoms the city limited, such as setting off fireworks or burning trash.

The plan failed twice, first in 2008 and again in 2012.

In 2012 the residents who lived on the land needed to vote 50 percent in favor of the plan, in a voluntary annexation, but defeated it with a vote of 9-6.

After the defeat, Rapp said they decided on an involuntary annexation, where the residents on the land would not be part of the voting process.

In order for the involuntary annexation to occur, a judge needed to hear testimony from both sides and decide in favor of the annexation. Next, it needed just above a 66 percent vote from the people within the city limits to pass. Finally, it needed a majority vote from the City Council.

Now that the land has been added, Rapp said he fought for it because he believes it will breathe new life into Boonville’s sputtering economy.

“We know we’ve got a couple hundred home sites we think we’ll have on the property, we’ll have some restaurants and hotels,” he said. “The jobs that it will create long-term will be very beneficial.”

He also said he hopes the city can piggyback off Columbia’s success as well, and get the spillover from the additional people in the city.

“I think with the SEC coming to Columbia, with the additional people coming to Columbia, we think we’ll benefit from that,” he said.

Rapp said he hasn’t heard any complaints from those who initially opposed the annexation. He said he thinks they understand how important this will be for the future and eventual economic development of Boonville.

They should have a development plan by 2016.

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