Columbia Convention and Visitors advisory board approves $75,000 for new agriculture park

Columbia Convention and Visitors advisory board approves -75000 for new agriculture park

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Funding sources continue to come in for a new agriculture park in west central Columbia

The Convention and Visitor's Bureau advisory board approved $75,000 in funds for construction of the new park, which will have facilities for a year-round farmer's market and space for potential events.

The plan for the park is a public/private partnership that includes the city's Parks and Recreation Department, the Columbia Center for Urban Agriculture and the Columbia Farmer's Market.

Last summer, the executive director of the Center for Urban Agriculture went before the CVB board and requested $250,000 to help build the facility. A the time, the board said it struggled to justify how the new park would impact tourism and land new visitors into hotel rooms. 

"We asked them to take it back and flesh it out a little bit more about where those room nights could potentially come from and what that looked like, and bring it back to us again," said Heather Hargrove, board member and general manager of the Stoney Creek Inn.

On Monday, the Center for Urban Agriculture executive director Billy Polansky pitched again. This time he detailed the number of events the center had the potential to hold and the visitors that would extend their time in Columbia to visit the park: increasing the potential for indirect hotel room impact.

Hargrove said Polansky's marketing plan is strong, and there's a lot of potential for economic growth stemming from the park.

"How do you extend the visit of someone coming to our city?" she said. "We see this as a potential attraction that could lengthen the stay of someone's visit overall and increase economic impact in our community."

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