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Downtown CID plans capital fundraising efforts for new art installation

Fundraising efforts are ramping up for what could be the largest public/private art installation in Columbia’s history.

The Downtown Community Improvement District developed the Gateway Master Plan in 2014 and has already been able to implement the first phase: three light hubs that can be seen stretching across the street outside the bus station on Tenth Street, at Flat Branch Park and outside the post office in the Sharp End Neighborhood.

“As we get the dollars and we are able to do the next step, we’re implementing it,” said downtown CID director Katie Essing.

The downtown CID plans on several more light hubs, but right now it’s directing its dollars toward the future spot for a bustling plaza at the southeast corner of Broadway and Providence.

“The plaza is a signature part of the Gateway Master Plan,” said Essing. “We’d love to see it done for the 200th anniversary.”

Columbia celebrates its bicentennial in 2021 so the project has an ambitious timeline.

Essing said the CID has already spent more than $250,000 on the light hubs and has budgeted an additional $1 million on the rest of the $3 million project. The rest of the funding would come from a capital campaign and grants.

“We’d like to look to different community partners to see who would be involved,” she said. “There could be trade partnerships with someone who might be interested to help do part of the construction of it or folks interested in sponsoring because it is a very prominent location in downtown Columbia.”

In 2011, about 40 voters approved a half-cent sales tax which funds the CID.

The full Gateway plan will comprise multiple locations and neighborhoods, and new pedestrian walkways will be included.

“Many of the Gateway’s areas, including the plaza, will have increased pedestrian crosswalks and a bump out to the curbs to make it safer for our pedestrians as they travel around downtown,” Essing said.

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