COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The city of Columbia and a group of nonprofits want $2 million in state tax credits to help pay for the expansion of a new agriculture park.
The Columbia City Council is set to vote on approving the agreement between the groups and the Missouri Development Finance Board at a meeting later this month.
Columbia Parks & Rec partnered with the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture, Columbia Farmers Market and Sustainable Farms and Communities to develop the Clary-Shy Community Park on Ash Street. The city spent $475,000 from park and Convention and Visitors Bureau funds for the first phase, which involved a new pavilion to house the farmers market.
The second phase of the park's construction involves a new community kitchen and an expansion of the pavilion. The expanded pavilion will feature two 11,000-square foot wings and be able to hold 98 vendors. The 10,000-square foot kitchen will serve as an "educational" space for the groups, and have space for community meetings.
The state finance board approved the city's request for tax credits in July, authorizing up to $2 million to tax credits for $4 million in contributions. Those that donate to the project between now and Dec. 21, 2021 receive a state tax credit worth 50 percent of the dollar amount of their donation. Tax credits can be used to deduct the amount owed in Missouri state income taxes. A donor must give $5,000 or more to qualify for a tax credit, but the board can waive that requirement according to the contract.
Kim Martin with the MDFB told ABC 17 News that the project has already raised $53,335.39 and issued a total of $26,667.69 in tax credits. The board waived the minimum dollar requirement for one donation so far.
Billy Polansky with CCUA said tax credits serve as another tool to help raise funds for the park. The groups raised $4 million to help build the first phase.
"We saw this year with just covering the middle part of the farmers market pavilion that attendance [at the market] has doubled," Polansky said. "That is an economic boost to the farmers who sell their goods."
City documents show the pavilion expansion is expected to cost $1.6 million. Parks & Rec predicts that planning and construction of the community kitchen will cost $2.26 million, and a new parking lot will cost $100,000.