Columbia has a big opportunity this year to accelerate building out the trail system. In November 2021, the Park Sales Tax will be up for renewal.
Right now, the Park Sales Tax is the primary way the City of Columbia funds new trails. Voters will vote on the tax renewal itself and its project list that commits Parks & Recreation to completing specific projects over the next 10 years, including trails, if the renewal passes.
We’ve seen the draft project list, and there’s good news and there’s still some work to be done. The current draft project list includes two new trail sections: Perche Creek Trail (Gillespie Bridge to Smith Drive) and Hinkson Creek Trail (Clark Lane to Vandiver). But if these are the only trails included, Columbia will build only 2.5 miles of trails over the next 10 years. At this rate, the 30-mile loop won’t be completed until 2060, 80 years after it was started!
Trails are Columbia’s highest used park facility, the type of park people visit most often, and the highest need park facility. 71% of city residents (34,000 households!) say they need more trails.
We believe we can influence the project list to include additional trails, but we’ll need to launch a significant community-based advocacy campaign in partnership with people like you. And we’re on a tight timeline: City Council will vote on the final project list in August.
Will you support our campaign for Columbia’s trails? Our advocacy depends on the passion and generosity of people like you who use and love trails. Your gift will make our trails advocacy campaign possible in this critical moment.