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Bird Scooters will return to Columbia soon, after unanimous council vote

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

UPDATE 9:15 p.m. : Bird scooters are on their way back to Columbia, after city council approved an agreement with the University of Missouri and Bird Rides, Inc. Monday Night.

The unanimous vote in support of the dockless scooters came after a line of questioning about past issues like placement, logistics and financials.

Leaders say 500 scooters will come back to the city. There is not set timeline right now, but the city says it could be within the next month.

Bird Rides will pay an initial fee of $10,000 each to the City of Columbia and the University of Missouri and $2.00 per scooter in operation each day. That would be split with the University and the city.

There is not a set place those dollars would be directed yet, but Mayor Brian Treece said he hopes they get used for more pedestrian development.

The Executive Director of The Downtown District Nickie Davis said there are pros and cons to having them in the area.

"A lot of our businesses are very concerned about where they are being left, right in front of their businesses, right in the middle of the sidewalk, it's not ADA compliant," Davis said. " But at the same time, we know we want to be a progressive city, and if we are going to keep up with the larger downtowns, we need to do everything we can to encourage that type of growth."

If the agreement is approved, The District has asked the city and Bird that the organization is a part of discussions about implementing the scooters back into the area.

Davis said The District would like to see docking areas for the scooters in the downtown area as well as speed restrictions.

"We will try to work with them to make sure there are enough of those as needed to be convenient for the users," Davis said. "There absolutely needs to be restrictions on where they are left off at."

Some downtown businesses had the same concerns. The owner of 44 Canteen Mark Sulltrop added that it could affect rideshare and taxis as well.

"As long as they are getting taxed the same as the other businesses are, I think that is important," Sulltrop said.

The owner of Addison's Matt Jenne agreed with the District that docking areas would help, and isn't opposed to their return.

"I think it's a neat way to get around downtown, and if it attracts people downtown, all the better," Jenne said.

ORGINAL: The Columbia City Council will meet to discuss a variety of issues, including the COVID-19 Pandemic and Bird Scooters.

The meeting is set to start at 7 p.m. at Columbia City Hall.

You can watch the meeting replay in the player below.

The Columbia/Boone County Department of Health and Senior Services will provide the council with an update at the beginning of the meeting.

The council is also holding a public hearing about the Flat Branch Park Project. Afterward, the council will vote on it's approval.

Bird Scooters may also be on their way back to Columbia. The council is set to vote an operating agreement with the University of Missouri and Bird Rides, Inc. that would bring the scooters back to the city.

The agreement was tabled at the council's meeting in September after concerns of the dockless scooters impacting Curbside pick amid the COVID-19 Pandemic.

If approved, Bird Rides would pay an initial fee of $10,000 each
to the City of Columbia and the University of Missouri and $2.00 per scooter in operation each day. That would be split with the University and the city.

The scooters left the city in November of 2019, then during negotiations for them to come back, MU shut its campus down because of COVID-19.

ABC17 News will be at the meeting and will update this story.

Columbia / Columbia City Government / Columbia Video / Coronavirus / Politics / Top Stories / Top Stories / Video

Connor Hirsch

Connor Hirsch reports for the weekday night shows, as well as Sunday nights.

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