Economic & Community Development

Economic development and community development are essential to creating a strong and vibrant Columbia by creating wealth and jobs in a community, while improving the quality of life for all residents.

Economic development strategies include attracting new businesses, expanding existing businesses, and supporting small businesses. Community development strategies include improving education and job training, providing affordable housing, and creating safe and attractive neighborhoods.

When economic development and community development are working together, they can create a virtuous cycle that benefits everyone in the city. When businesses are successful, they create jobs and opportunities for residents. When residents have good jobs and opportunities, they are more likely to be healthy, educated, and engaged in their community. This, in turn, makes the city a more attractive place to live, work, and raise a family.

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Economic and Community Development services are performed by the City Manager’s Office, the City’s Department of Development Services and Columbia Main Street. Additionally, the City contracts for economic development support from local economic development agency Maury Alliance to aid in industrial recruitment and Retail Strategies to assist with retail recruitment.

Development Services provides professional and technical services in the fields of engineering, planning, land use and control, sign ordinance administration, and code compliance. Staff members provide support to the Planning Commission, Design Review Commission, and the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Columbia Main Street assists prospective and existing merchants doing business in the City’s historic commercial business district.

The City Manager’s Office provides staff support to the Columbia Industrial Development Board in addition to managing day-to-day operation of the City of Columbia organization.

We encourage you to request a pre-construction meeting with Development Services staff prior to the initiation of a new project. Staff will assist potential applicants, developers, designers, and/or contractors via informal meetings with relevant city staff to help plan projects and be aware of City codes or local conditions that may impact projects.