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August 30, 2009 12:17:00 AM
Ask the PTA president or the lifelong community member or the county supervisor: What''s your vision for Columbus and Lowndes County?
You likely will get three -- or more -- very different answers. And moreover, you likely will get very different approaches on how to get there.
So sometimes it takes the inside scoop and some outside expertise to get to where you want to go.
That''s the idea behind this week''s charrette, a three-day long reasearch-and-planning effort, ideally ending in a master plan for Columbus and the surrounding area.
"Throughout the three-day intensive process, we hope to accomplish several things," Main Street Columbus Director Amber Murphree Brislin said via e-mail. "First, we encourage and want the entire community to participate in the Communitywide Input Session on Tuesday, Sept. 1 at 6 p.m., (in the) lower level of the Trotter (Convention Center); second, a branding strategy for our community, and third, to accomplish groundwork for a future community plan."
From Tuesday through Thursday, Randy Wilson, Mississippi Main Street Association''s contract design architect, and a team of architects and planners, will take input from community members to develop the conceptualized master plan.
"Next week we will have eight top notch designers, branding and marketing specialists and community planners in town focusing only on the future opportunities for Columbus," Brislin noted. "This is something to be excited about."
The team has worked in such areas as Hancock County, Eupora, Westchester, S.C., Clinton, N.C., and Macon, Ga.
Some priorities for the charrette are streamlining the city''s diverse branding and marketing efforts, identifying what makes Columbus unique, making the city''s gateways more appealing, improving upon parks and open spaces, including input on sportsplex design and location, and roadways, sidewalks and trail systems.
After the charrette, Columbus will be left with a poster and comprehensive report, which will hold the results of more $60,000 to $100,000 worth of planning services.
The charrette is being hosted as a part of a $15 million Wired Initiative grant funneled through East Mississippi Community College.
"We are very fortunate to have received this grant for our community, and we plan to take full advantage of the opportunity for the entire community," Brislin said.
moufasi commented at 8/30/2009 8:39:00 AM:
We need to place more emphasis on a more healthier
Columbus. A bike path (similar to Starksville) would be a priorty fo me. I would also attmpt to plac e a YMCA in the southern part of town. The site adjacent to the old Red Cap complex would be excellent. If not that...assist in upgrading the Charles Brown facility through grants and the like. Place a different emphasis on the younger generation of this city and your results will accenuate the possible positives of the future.
Dave commented at 8/30/2009 8:43:00 AM:
Two ideas on improvements:
1. Re making gateways more appealing:
One of the first things visitors from the north see when approaching downtown Columbus is a sign welcoming them to historic downtown Columbus. Problem is the sign is located on a falling apart, no longer used football stadium. Been that way for years. No way would Tupelo allow that to happen. Neither should we. Be creative. MS is the fattest state in the nation. Put a 1/4 mile track around the old football field. Plant some trees and put picnic tables in the middle, or maybe an area where the kids can rollerblade. Numerous possibilities, and many are relatively inexpensive. Bet the architecture school at MSU could present some great ideas.
Do something to get more people wanting to go downtown. A traditional "town square" might help. No real definition of what is downtown as it is now. Take a look at the Oxford Square as a role model -people flock to the downtown area at night(Some will say yeah, but it's a college town. True, but it's that way during spring break, summer break,etc...).
Columbus has the potential to become a better city than it is. Hopefully our citizens/leaders will take advantage of the opportunity to see that it happens.
TD commented at 8/30/2009 7:02:00 PM:
Parking downtown is a tough nut to crack. One of the reasons I don't eat lunch at the Cafe on Main is because of parking. I can park much closer at restaurants on Hwy 45 than I can downtown.
Colt 45 commented at 8/31/2009 9:31:00 AM:
TD, you would rather fight Highway 45 traffic at lunchtime than to walk an extra block? Parking is not as bad a problem as advertised in the downtown area, that is, if you can handle walking a few extra steps.
Thom Geiger commented at 8/31/2009 1:07:00 PM:
Free Wi-Fi. We have been behind this one for too long. If the mayor and CC can't do the do on city-wide, at least do it at parks, Riverwalk, downtown area.
A Link or other government phone number for travelers on local highways to get info about where to eat, sleep and things to see and do in Columbus. Put the number out there on highway info signs. Most large cities do this on their highways. Some use low power AM and FM signals to lure travelers passing through and to give out local info.
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