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School Board, City Council candidates participate in forum

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

The Columbia Board of REALTORS hosted a candidate forum for the Columbia City Council and School Board races Tuesday night.

The community had the chance to question the candidates for the Columbia Public Schools Board of Education. The candidates are Helen Wade, Jonathan Sessions, David Seamon and Chris Horn. Wade and Sessions currently serve on the board.

The forum then focused on the City Council race for Wards 1 and 5.

The Ward 1 candidates are Mark Anderson, Greg Pierson and Pat Fowler.

The city council candidates were asked about their feelings towards more development downtown and specifically a proposed six-story hotel.

Anderson said that there needs to be a balance and the city would need to look at how any new development downtown could impact the city as a whole.

"If the growth is appropriate, I'm all for it, but if the growth is going to be off-balance than we need to look at it," Anderson said.

Pierson said there are two things he keeps in mind when it comes to development - the impacts on climate and the historical character of downtown.

"I think in a lot of cases that character and history (are) always growing and always continuing, so it's not saying we need to keep everything the way it is, but as long as it's not having a negative impact on things like that," Pierson said.

Fowler emphasized the importance of making sure there is a balance for young people and adults downtown, as well as making sure there is sufficient sewer and stormwater capacity for projects.

"We need to have a balance downtown of a place for grownups. We have a great place for students now and then we also need to bring more grownups downtown so that we maintain that venue for families," Fowler said.

Matt Pitzer is seeking reelection as Ward 5 councilman and is running unopposed.

People will get to vote on the races in the April 7 election.

Columbia / Columbia City Government / Columbia Public Schools / Education / News / Politics / Top Stories / Top Stories

Katie Greathouse

Katie Greathouse is the assistant news director for ABC 17 News.

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