Editorial: Looking around, Columbus abuzz with development

As Ivy Tech Columbus welcomed Ivy Tech President Sue Ellspermann for a visit last week, students began their first full term in the new, $32 million Moravec Hall. As the students buzzed around their new surroundings, a remarkable buzz of activity and progress was also evident throughout the community.

Just down the street from the Columbus Learning Center, the propeller maker’s space is kicking off, aided by a $580,000 economic development grant from the state. Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative (READI) grant will help makers and entrepreneurs with 3D printing labs, robotics, electronics, metalworking, woodworking and more .

These developments on the education and business fronts are just a few elements of the changing face of a prosperous and aspiring Columbus. When you look around, it’s hard to remember a time when so many big projects were going on locally.

One of the most visible projects is, for the moment, a demolition site.

Force Construction crews have been busy over the past week digging into the former FairOaks mall, removing the building that was once a Goody’s store and beginning the gradual transformation of the former mall property into NexusPark. This future sports complex, sports complex, health center, community space and parks department promises to be a focal point and destination for our region for years to come. He also received a boost from a state READI grant made possible by federal COVID relief funding.

These projects are supported by public money because they serve the public, and READI grants are a welcome use of taxpayers’ money going back into local communities. Governor Eric Holcomb has advocated for another round of READI grants, and we wholeheartedly agree. These grants focus on economic development and improving the quality of life, among other measures, based on identified needs in communities and regions of the state.

Investing public funds in human infrastructure and public needs pays dividends in a way that can easily be measured and in a more nebulous but equally valid way. What is the price of experience, of individual discovery, of success, of education? That’s the value of those investments in Ivy Tech, Propeller and NexusPark.

Head downtown from NexusPark and you’ll notice rafters rising over the site of Flaherty & Collins’ new $41 million apartment building and urban grocery store in the 700 block of Second Street. . The Taylor, as it has been dubbed, continues the downtown residential development that began with the Cole. It will help meet the continued need for housing in our region by bringing 200 new apartments.

A few steps away, the Sentier 1821 is under construction. This new link to the People Trail commemorates the bicentennial of the founding of Columbus and, in conjunction with other nearby developments, will significantly improve underutilized land near the downtown core.

There’s a lot more going on in the city, both private and public, that will keep Columbus buzzing for years to come. And we haven’t even taken the time to mention any projects that are just on the drawing board.

Columbus is a thriving and vibrant community. What we are seeing now and in the near future gives us confidence that our city’s most dynamic days lie ahead.

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