How often have you heard someone say, “There is nothing to do in Columbus”? Or maybe you are one of the nay-sayers that whine about “nothing to do - no place to go!"
Well, I’m here to tell you that you have not looked very hard. Our community is alive with activities and you don’t have to look very hard.
At downtown Frankfort Square on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday, something is happening each of those nights and odds are some of what is happening would probably appeal to you. Song, dance, movies -- you bring your chair, sit back and enjoy the atmosphere.
Maybe you are not the type to sit and just listen. Then visit the restaurants and bars that are happy to serve you. They even have outdoor sidewalk seating to accommodate you. Many are serving evening specials to fit the occasion, and many of the businesses are planning parties such as anniversary events with street closings, their own music, and much more.
Our Park and Rec staff work very hard to provide entertainment for Frankfort Square. But if you do not come down and check it out you will never know what you are missing.
So next time you or one of your friends say, “There is nothing to do in Columbus this weekend” stop, take a deep breath and come downtown. You will be pleasantly surprised.
Besides all the activities that are taking place downtown, our city has been busy hosting many softball, baseball and soccer tournaments. These events result in hundreds of people coming to our community. While here, they are enjoying our restaurants, bars, motels, buying gas and getting groceries and supplies. All of this fueling the Columbus economy. Isn’t that GREAT!?
I know my monthly articles usually highlight those items and events that have taken place in the past month. I attempt to make sure that you are informed about all that is happening in our community. But this month I need to deviate slightly because of an upcoming event that everyone needs to be aware of.
On Saturday, July 8 at 9 a.m., we will cut the ribbon on our new Community Building. This voter-approved facility will house the Library, Columbus Arts Council, Community Rooms, Children's Museum, coffee shop and City Hall. It is hard to believe that just three years ago we broke ground on this project. An open house event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon.
A lot of hard with went into accomplishing this project. It all started with looking at the failed ballot question from the 2017 election and doing homework to develop a concept that made sense and, more importantly, would be supported by the voters. The new idea was brought forward and then was vetted with many hours of public input, public meetings and much give and take until the final concept was taken to the voters.
And the voters said YES! So mark your calendar and come down and join us for this celebration. We are proud of what has been built and we are eager to show the public their new facility. There are a few areas that are not completed yet, the Children's Museum and coffee shop (Broken Mug). But everything else will be on display. This will become the new Columbus landmark and a tremendous anchor for the continued redevelopment of our downtown.
On June 5, we held a Committee of the Whole (COW) to discuss the current situation regarding EMS services that Columbus Fire Department (CFD) provides to Columbus Rural Fire and Duncan Rural Fire. As we have previously spelled out, EMS services are not included in the current fire protection levee that Columbus Rural and Duncan have. Their current levee only covers fire protection, as mandated by state statute, but it does not cover the cost of EMS services.
The city has laid out the cost required to maintain this service. It is the need to staff an additional ambulance to meet the demand for service. Staffing of this ambulance requires six firefighters -- two per shift for three shifts. The current cost of this staffing -- $600,000. This cost covers personnel only and doesn’t cover the additional cost that the city will incur. I am referring to the additional cost of providing the ambulance and keeping it equipped with the necessary materials and supplies. Another approximate $500,000 expense.
In looking at the current needs of the city and our continued growth we are confident that our current CFD staff can serve the needs of our citizens. Our staff will continue to grow at the pace required to maintain this service. But to handle the needs of Columbus Rural and Duncan, which represents about 14% of CFD's call volume, along with our city, the additional staffing is necessary.
We feel that we are representing the spending of your tax dollars wisely in this regard. We believe it is unfair to ask the citizens of Columbus, who pay to fully fund the Columbus Fire Department, to subsidize the EMS services needed by Columbus Rural and Duncan. As stewards of your tax dollars, we are asking them to pay for the services they require.
All of this has been laid out to the county, Columbus Rural and Duncan. It is in their hands and up to them to let the city know the direction they wish to take. Columbus Fire Department is ready to continue service as they have for as long as anyone can remember, but at the cost required to maintain that service. We have asked to be informed of their intent by July 1. We have informed all parties that the City will cease service on Oct. 1, 2023, if no agreement is in place.
With summer here and the great weather that has accompanied it, I hope you are enjoying the many outdoor amenities that our community has to offer. We work hard to find the right mix of amenities that the public wants, will use and we can afford. Stay safe and enjoy!
Something Good Columbus!