August 15, 2014 11:40:05 AM
The financial landscape of the city of Columbus has been the topic of concern since last week's special meeting of the council, which was held to make adjustments to the proposed budget.
David Armstrong, the city's chief operations officer, said declining property values -- and the tax money that goes along with it -- will likely mean the city will have to raise taxes to meet its budget, possibly as soon as next year.
While the financial landscape is filled with trepidation, the actual landscape of Columbus, particularly from downtown and north on Highway 45, looks more promising.
Downtown, preparations are being made for a new restaurant at the location of the old Front Door/Back Door restaurant and The Southern, an event venue, also on Main Street.
But the biggest flurry of new retail stores are along Highway 45. Hobby Lobby opened Monday. Across the street, Premium Fabrics will open in the next month or so. Meanwhile, a couple of miles farther north, another arts and crafts supply chain, Michael's, is set to open Aug. 29. Workers are already busy stocking shelves in preparation of that opening. Next door, DICK'S Sporting Goods does not appear to be quite as far along, with painters still working on the interior of the mostly empty store. But it's coming. A Lost Pizza restaurant is expected to open across from the Malco Theater in October.
Across the highway from Walmart work appears to be nearing completion at the new building that will house a Starbuck's and a Kay Jewelers.
Meanwhile, Buffalo Wild Wings has been open for three months now and appears to be doing a thriving trade.
Although it can't be considered a "new" arrival, the Kroger store on Highway 45 is in the midst of a $3 million renovation and expansion that is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
It seems that each week brings news of a new business coming to town.
We note all of these things not to diminish the real issues that confront our city, but to point out that there are many in the business community who still view Columbus optimistically, and demonstrate it not merely in words, but with their own money, which is the best test of confidence we know of.
In light of that, we encourage our city leaders to discuss the issues our city faces openly and thoroughly, deliberate carefully and act wisely as they chart the city's future.
A lot of new business owners are betting on Columbus.
How the city negotiates the challenges ahead will do much to determine if it is a good bet or not.