May 3, 2009
When I moved here three years ago with my husband and two sons, it took me less than an hour to realize that this was the town for me. I am a southern girl, but have never lived this "deep" in the South.
Columbus was an exotic, enticing town to me. It was spring, and my first encounter in this city was exhilarating. At the time, there was a coffee shop on Main Street with an art house cinema across the street. The Riverwalk had just been completed, and I went for one of the most enjoyable runs I had had up to that point in my life. The town was charming; the people friendly.
I was astounded by the excellence of the local library, the welcome center, the Arts Council, and the YMCA. How wonderful to have a college campus right in the middle of the city! And when I learned that you could actually take a boat on the river and discover great little treasures like the Tote and Float...well, I was blown away.
All of those impressions of Columbus are still with me, and over the last three years I can honestly say that my feelings for this city, and my passion for it, have only intensified.
Sometimes I just want to shout my love for Columbus out loud when I''m walking down the street, get a wave from Mother Goose, visit the Hitching Lot Farmers'' Market, attend a concert by the river, or catch a glimpse of the shimmering river underneath that beautiful old rusty bridge. How can I explain to my friends "back home" the vision of four teenagers in cut-off jeans jumping from a suspended rope into the river?
Lately I have heard a lot of discussion about "lifestyle" and "quality of life." The discussions begin with the premise that if people see we have a good quality of life, they will want to move here, or visit here, or bring their business here, or all of the above. Obviously there is truth in that, because why does anyone choose to move anywhere or visit anywhere, if they have they opportunity to choose? But the quality of life argument is being discussed to justify the development of a sportsplex at Burns Bottom. As the mother of two soccer- and baseball-playing little boys, I think the idea of a sportsplex is wonderful. It is certainly needed. Burns Bottom is NOT the place, however, and I certainly hope your readers will do all they can to let our decision-makers know this, too.
First of all, it doesn''t take an expert to look at the area to know that it is simply not big enough. There is no room to expand! More importantly, however, we are short-changing ourselves. That area is much better suited as a tie-in with the Riverwalk.
Who knows, one day we might see a community garden, patio homes or New Orleans-style cottages, a sustainable living community and quaint retail shops. With the Farmers'' Market as the heartbeat of that area, wouldn''t it be a shame to see it all covered in asphalt?
I think the sportsplex should be located on Highway 82. It is visible to everyone driving by; there is ample room to grow and it moves us closer to our neighbors in Starkville. Wouldn''t it be nice if we became a REAL Golden Triangle, and began to think of ourselves one large community, sharing our wonderful assets with each other?
With the growth of the airport and the industrial park, that is already happening. Our sportsplex would be both a buffer from too much industrial, and a bridge, of sorts, connecting our community to our neighbors to the west. Our soccer leagues and baseball leagues could even begin competing against each other. There are too many positives to mention, really.
Columbus is a wonderful place. Let''s make sure we make good choices for her future. Write letters, send e-mails, and make phone calls to your councilmen, supervisors, Mayor Smith, and everyone running for local office.
1. Wyatt Emmerich: Non-profit journalism LOCAL COLUMNS
2. Thomas Sowell: Grim choices NATIONAL COLUMNS
3. Our View: Unemployment rates show the importance of small business DISPATCH EDITORIALS
4. Our View: Leike and DeBardeleben deserve our gratitude DISPATCH EDITORIALS
5. Leonard Pitts: Pragmatism don't know Bernie NATIONAL COLUMNS