A former Columbia mayor describes Columbia Regional Airport’s (COU) $23-million new terminal as a six-year project that culminated with the recent ribbon-cutting ceremony and first flight.
Former Mayor Brian Treece is proud of this project.
“It’s really due to no small part to the partnership between local, state and federal government, our two U.S. Senators, Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) but also MoDOT (Missouri Department of Transportation) and the taxpayers of Columbia,” Mr. Treece says.
Treece tells 939 the Eagle that his first vote in April 2016 was one asking voters to increase a hotel tax for economic development. Columbia voters approved that 2016 hotel tax, and it’s the new terminal’s main funding source. He says the new terminal is better than you can imagine. Treece notes the new terminal is 52,000 square feet, compared to the 16,000 square foot terminal that was built in 1968.
“And it really dramatizes how tired our current and now former (COU) terminal is. And what a great front porch this is going to make for the University of Missouri, for people that are visiting Columbia for the first time to see family or friends or visit a doctor. Or to maybe locate a new business here or send their daughter or son to college here,” says Treece.
Missouri Governor Mike Parson predicts the new terminal will help make Columbia a top medical destination. Current Columbia Mayor Barbara Buffaloe agrees. She describes COU’s new terminal as eye-opening.
“So we have the opportunity here already with our regional medical destination but also we have the research that’s now happening with the University of Missouri Health Care System to bring people in from other states, other cities to come here. So we do have that potential,” Treece says.
COU will use the old terminal to house car rental counters until the project’s second phase is finished.