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City Council member looks to sell land to nonprofit to build a homeless shelter


Columbia City Councilwoman Betsy Peters is in the process of selling her land to the Voluntary Action Center.

The VAC has been looking for land to build it's homeless shelter, called Homeless Opportunity Campus. Project coordinators submitted a plan to the Columbia Boone County Health and Human Services on Friday.

Peters purchased a 5.65-acre tract of property located at the northeast corner of Bowling Lane and East Business Loop 70 in December.

Peters purchased the property for $600,000, and is in the process of selling the property to the VAC.

"We've been looking for places for a homeless shelter," Peters said. "It has to have taken them [VAC] six months to be able to to get this property because of needing to do due diligence."

Peters wanted to donate the land to the VAC from the beginning.

"I would have donated the property tot them if they wanted the property," she said. "I actually had just bought it and then the Voluntary Action Center folks called me, and said, do you own that property? Because we're interested in buying it."

Due to Peters position on the City Council, she has to sign a Disclosure of Interest - Abstentions with the City of Columbia.

The Disclosure states Peters will abstain from voting or participating in the decision-making process on any matter relating to the project. This includes -- but is not limited to -- any matter relating to funding for the VAC, or the VAC Opportunity, funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Community Development Block Grant.

"Anything that has to do with any of the HUD money, I just, I don't vote on it," Peters said.

Peters said the council split up budget meetings into two parts, so she can abstain from any discussions regarding the VAC.

The Opportunity Campus will include a 25,000-square-foot facility, that would provide temporary shelter. Transitional housing, affordable housing, meals, and basic daily needs would also be included in the project.

The city is expected to review portions of the project during it's next meeting on Monday.

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Marina Diaz

Marina is a Multimedia Journalist for ABC 17 News, she is originally from Denver, Colorado. She went to Missouri Valley College where she played lacrosse and basketball, and anchored her school’s newscast.


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