March 8, 2010 9:47:00 AM
In 2008, Columbus-Lowndes Development Link CEO Joe Higgins called for the area to keep "feeding the monster" -- the "monster" being industrial development. It''s paid off.
And in a measure of "dollars invested and deals" secured, Columbus has been listed as a top micropolitan area for 2009 by Site Selection magazine. The city is ranked No. 7 by the publication, which focuses on corporate real estate strategy and economic development. The city climbed from its No. 14 slot in 2008.
In 2009, the Link helped secure $125 million to $150 million in new investments and 150 new jobs.
And when Policom, which ranks 574 micropolitan areas in the United States, releases its rankings this spring, Higgins expects Columbus to move up past the No. 100 slot it held last year.
In 2004, Columbus was ranked 374th; in 2005, the city was No. 322; in 2006, Columbus climbed to 257. By 2007, Columbus was ranked 211; in 2008, the city was ranked 174.
"In last six years, we''ve probably been in the top 6 percent of positive-performing micropolitans in the country," Higgins noted.
The Link was formed in 2003, joining economic development efforts with the area chamber of commerce.
Policom defines a micropolitan as containing an urbanized area with more than 10,000 people but less than 50,000. To determine rankings, the company calculates growth rates, consistency trends, industry averages and other factors.
Since its inception, the Link has worked toward billions of dollars in facilities being built in Lowndes County, bringing about more than 6,000 jobs.
The big news of 2009 was the promotion and expansion of the Lowndes County Industrial Park into the Golden Triangle Regional Industrial Aerospace Park.
More than $100 million of infrastructure work already has gone into the site, an expansion of the existing industrial park on Highway 82 west of Columbus.
Existing resources -- the Golden Triangle Regional Airport, railways, highways and the Tennessee Tombigbee River -- are expected to attract more companies in the expanding aerospace industry.
Aerospace manufacturers American Eurocopter, Stark Aviation and Aurora Flight Sciences already occupy some of the site''s 2,500 publicly owned acres and employ about 600 workers.
TOP MICROPOLITANS AT A GLANCE
Slate commented at 3/8/2010 11:32:00 AM:
Outstanding news, our future is so much brighter than just six years ago, kudos to everyone involved. Our children will be able to remain in the area with the promise good, well paying jobs.
Bubba Gump commented at 3/9/2010 8:53:00 AM:
You have lost your mind Slate. Is it better? Ok, I'll give you better, but this area is no where near what it was in the 70's and the mother ship hasn't landed yet.
In fact, Columbus has been yelling about how we're moving forward since I've been living here, and aside from small advances, I just don't see it.
The town inside the city limits is in decay. The roads are a joke. Apparently the water lines in the city are an even bigger joke as I have been watching the "leak" in the street in front of my house for nearly 2 months now and it still isn't fixed. We have Supervisors who are 5 year-olds, and a City Council who is 6. Crime and drugs out the ying-yang, massive unemployed, and you think we have reached the promised land.
Beam me up Scottie.
Slate commented at 3/9/2010 11:29:00 AM:
Bubba (how appropriate), a mind is a terrible thing to waste. Just because your life sucks doesn't mean everyone's does. What is this "mother ship" you speak of, perhaps it's the one you came from.
Bubba Gump commented at 3/11/2010 9:23:00 AM:
My life is just fine, thanks for asking. But that isn't what we are talking about here. The topic at hand was, and is, the idea that this town is doing anything other than spinning its wheels. Since the early 70's, the word has always been "look at us go" around here and so far the only place I have seen this town go is down the crapper.
As mentioned before, the city is in decay within the city limits, the roads are a joke, the local leadership is an even bigger joke, and you can't get anyone in this town to do their job, or even show up for it.
I have mentioned several things to city officials in the last 2 months and not a single one of them has been addressed. I have called them back about them again in the last month and they are still a no-show.
Now unless you have something wonderful to point out to me about Columbus other than the usual boring junk about old homes, Southern Hospitality, BarBQue, or the massive influx of jobs which don't seen to exist, I think you are finished speaking.