By JEFF DURBIN, Missourian staff writer
March 16, 1999

Southern Boone County could be another step on its way to having a regional sewer system, which may lead to an industrial park in the Ashland area. The Department of Natural Resources has requested state funding this legislative session for an environmental study of the proposed system.

The issue came up at a meeting of Boone County commissioners and mayors Monday. The commissioners also sought mayoral input on a county-wide process looking at intelligent growth strategies.

Environmentally-sensitive streams run through the southern part of the county, such as the Bonne Femme watershed centered around Three Creeks Conservation Area. A DNR team would assess the impact of the sewer system on water quality and protected species, among other things.

"It's getting a favorable look," Southern Boone County Commissioner Karen Miller said. "It still has to go through the process."

Funding for the study would be about $100,000 to 150,000. An application for $125,000 in federal money was rejected in January.

The proposed 224-acre Centre Pointe industrial park near Columbia Regional Airport was rejected by the county commission in November 1997 mainly because the area lacked infrastructure.

The mayors also discussed a tale of two types of cities in Boone County.

While Columbia struggles with the pains of expansion, towns around the county would like all the growth and development they can get.

Columbia mayor Darwin Hindman told the gathering about the city's proposed Metro 2020 land-use plan, which encourages more compact development with mixtures of commercial and residential uses.

"We're being stressed out when it comes to providing services," Hindman said.

Hindman also said he wanted the city and county to share ideas for smart growth.

Most of the mayors said they needed a larger tax base to upgrade sewers, water lines and streets. They were also interested in banding together to seek federal and state funding for local projects.

Mayor Frances Turner from Rocheport, population 255, was one of the mayors trying to annex land and provide infrastructure to adjoining development.

"We'd be interested in annexation," Turner said. "It brings more tax dollars into the town."

Hallsville Mayor Carl South said local streets were in good condition, but the town needed to improve its water system.

"We see Hallsville as a light industry area," South said. "But without infrastructure, we're sunk."