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Federal Infrastructure Grant FAQs

What is a Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods (RCN) Grant?

The City of Columbia worked with the Loop CID to apply for an RCN Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The goal of this program is to eliminate barriers caused by roads, interstates, and railroads—particularly in underserved or neglected areas. So think about how hard it is to cross 5 lanes of moving traffic on the Business Loop, or how I-70 creates a barrier between the Business Loop and Cosmo Park for nearby families. This is why we were awarded this grant—so we can start to address these problems.

$2.13 million is a lot of money! What’s it for?

This is a planning grant, so the funds will be used to map out the best ways to improve safety; make the street accessible to all modes of transit; improve bike lanes, sidewalks, and crosswalks; manage storm water; and add landscaping, amenities, and other beautification elements.

Why do we need to do so much planning?

Think of this as creating architectural blueprints before beginning construction on your home—it’s a way to make sure the foundation is strong, assess the proper building materials, map out the size and shape of the house, and estimate construction costs. A planning study is necessary to determine the state of the existing infrastructure, plan for new infrastructure, conduct an environmental impact analysis, develop a plan for managing storm water, and more. Features to be studied will include a complete streets design, storm water management, beautification elements, and design improvements to intersections, bike lanes, and pedestrian connections. 

Wait, don’t you already have a Loop Corridor Plan?

We do! We hosted a public planning process in 2017 to create a vision for the street (find the plan at www.theloopcomo.com, click Build). However, this concept plan doesn’t have the engineering details necessary to start construction or even fully estimate costs. We’ll use our Loop Corridor Plan as a starting point for this new phase, think of it as Phase 1 and now Phase 2. 

So what’s Phase 3?

Once we have a more detailed plan for the street, we’ll use that to start applying for capital improvement grants. This won’t be inexpensive since the street’s infrastructure hasn’t been fixed or replaced since the 1960’s. We’ll basically have to rebuild the street from the ground up. It’s an important project though so we are hopeful about finding additional grant funding when we are ready. 

How do I get involved? 

We thought you’d never ask! It’ll take a few months to get the grant agreement in place but then we’ll be surveying Columbians, hosting public forums, and meeting with folks on the street. Follow us on social media and check out our website for details in the coming months. The City of Columbia is the lead on this process so they’ll have information posted on www.como.gov as well.

How can I learn more about this process?

We’ll post details about this process on our website, www.theloopcomo.com. You can read and download a copy of the entire Loop Corridor Concept Plan as well, just click on Build. If you’re part of a community group or other organization and you’d like someone to come to speak, drop us a line at [email protected] and we’d love to come!

14 Business Loop 70 East
Columbia, MO 65203
573- 443-5667 (LOOP)
[email protected]

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