Ashland pushes north for future commercial growth.

The City of Ashland announced Monday that more growth was on its way.

Ashland Mayor Gene Rhorer said the City has reached agreement with landowners near the Columbia Regional Airport at Route H to annex their property into the City of Ashland.

The City will, in November, annex 73.13 acres into the city limits which is owned by Joe and Elaine McDow, which is on the southwest corner of the Rt. H and Highway 63 exchange. The annexation will put two of the four sides of that intersection inside the Ashland city limits.

In addition, another 6.7 acres owned by Greg Rennier will also be annexed into the city. The Rennier property is adjacent to the Knipp Farms, on the east side of Highway 63.

Both annexations are voluntary annexations with no requests currently for any city services. Both properties will be rezoned to “General Commercial,” which Rhorer said is consistent with surrounding properties.

“This extends the city limits to the north,” Rhorer said, “and it will border the University of Missouri property on the other side of the highway.”

The McDow property also borders land being developed by Larry Potterfield between the airport and the highway.

“This annexation positions ourselves for future economic growth,” added Rhorer, “there is a big advantage to having that property in the city limits.”

Rhorer said adding property to be inside the city limits along Route H has been a part of the city’s plan for longterm growth.

“It gives us an advantage economically and we have been pleased to work with these land owners as we see interest in the airport grow,” Rhorer said.

The mayor pointed out the advantage of putting property on Highway 63 around the airport into the city limits.

“To be able to annex a quadrant of an overpass where you might see businesses and retail space, that’s an economic decision and advantage to having that in the Ashland city limits,” Rhorer said.

Rhorer said he was unaware if the property was for sale or if there were any immediate plans by the land owners.

Future potential on land in that area included convenience stores, and other such retailers near an airport. “That’s part of our projections and part of our goal – to improve our economy by doing these things and working with the property owners,” Rhorer said.

Rhorer said there was not connection to the two properties being annexed and Potterfield’s current project along Rt. H near the airport.

“It makes sense, in our opinion, to have those properties in the Ashland city limits,” Rhorer said. “I think it’s incredibly important to the city’s future. Everyone thinks that airport is going to be an economic draw, so why wouldn’t we annex and take another step forward on Ashland’s behalf?”

By Bruce Wallace