We began the morning with an update from City Manager John Glascock on the city budget, priorities and recovery planning updates.
Many job cuts from the city’s budget did not necessarily result in a layoff. Eliminated positions may have resulted in a relocation of position or a voluntary leave. There have been added positions in the following departments: health, police, and utilities.
Mayor Brian Treece joined the session to discuss moving the city into economic recovery after the pandemic. Mayor Treece gave our group a first look of the results of the 2019 Citizen’s Survey that took input from 849 households. 4,000 randomly selected houses were sent the survey to provide a snapshot of Columbia’s demographics. While the survey showed an overall satisfaction rate with the City, there is always space for improvements to our community.
Mayor Treece emphasized the importance of supporting local by shopping locally. It’s important for us to shop locally to ensure that these businesses are still around in the future. He pleads that if you can buy it local, buy it local, and do not order it online from a non-local vendor.
The business community can impact the future of Columbia by filling out the Columbia Imagined – The Plan for How We Live & Grow survey here. This is the comprehensive land use plan used by the City of Columbia which can drastically influence the expansion of our business community.
Tourism and Hospitality Update
Tourism is an integral part of the vitality of most communities, especially Columbia. Amy Schneider, Director, Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau, gave us an update on the tourism sector’s importance and where it stands while shouldering the impact of COVID-19.
Amy’s office’s mission is to attract visitors to Columbia through sales, public relations, and communications while establishing Columbia as the number one travel destination in the Midwest.
Amy makes the point that a good place to visit comes full circle. If your community is a good place to visit, it’s a good place to live, if it’s a good place to live there will be business and so forth.
Boone County’s tourism industry will not recover to its 2019 numbers of $425 million tourism-related spending with over 11,000 people employed by tourism industry until at least 2023. Decisions affecting travel in the next six months all focus on COVID-19 related concerns.
The Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau has created meetcomonow.com to introduce Columbia in a new way with digital marketing.
After the update, a panel consisting of Mike Nolan, General Manager / Production Manager, The Blue Note and Rose Music Hall, Matt Jenne, Owner, Addison’s & Sophia’s, and Aric Jarvis, General Manager, The Broadway Hotel- a Doubletree by Hilton gave an honest look at what their industries are experiencing at this time.
Many changes will stay such as sanitizing stations, mobile tickets, QR code readers for menus and tickets, as well as safety protocols such as masks will be main stays for the future.
The health department was acknowledged as a positive partner in making operations possible during COVID-19 restrictions.
A big element of tourism and our hospitality industries are athletics. Jim Sterk, Athletic Director, University of Missouri Athleticsgave us a feel for the current status of MU athletics.