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      City Council approves $150 million more for Innovista

      Columbia City Council voted 4-to-2 in favor of the $150 million tax bond for Innovista.

      Despite the troubled economy, officials are pushing forward with developing the University of South Carolina TMs Innovista research campus.

      These plans are designed to create jobs, economic development and long-term increase in tax revenues, said a Columbia resident.

      Several people sounded off to Columbia City Council Thursday, all in favor of raising taxes to fund Innovista.

      Innovista is really about a vision for the heart of what our city is going to be, said a Columbia resident.

      The $140 million project created by the city and USC is expected to bring in dollars and generate jobs.

      We have much to look forward to, much to do, and much more to accomplish, said Innovista Director Don Herriott.

      A lot is riding on Innovista TMs new director Don Herriot. Leaders hope the former pharmaceutical executive can turn things around. Critics say the project still hasn TMt delivered what it promised.

      Innovista has been a colossal failure and there TMs really no way to sugar coat that, says Ashley Landess. The whole point of this was to create jobs and attract lots of private capital investment, neither of those things have happened.

      Ashley Landess of South Carolina Policy Council says she can TMt understand why the City of Columbia would want to invest more money in something she says has a bad track record.

      It simply is not the appropriate time, said Belinda Gergel.

      If I voted no, I would feel as though I was putting a very steep hill in front of anyone reconsidering this issue, said Mayor Bob Coble.

      The council members who voted to move forward say their decision will not immediately affect the city TMs tax base, since another vote is needed to issue a bond for the project.