8 Things Columbus Can Do To Be A Better City For Tomorrow

Following these simple steps can make Columbus the new crown jewel of the Midwest.

Columbus, consider this the growing pains period. We’re staring down the barrel of a 500,000 person population boom in the next 20 years and our property and infrastructure have been exploding as of late. All signs point toward Columbus finally making it towards its big-city aspirations.

But bigger doesn’t always mean better. And, while we may get the size and numbers, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll be a great city. Don’t get me wrong, I think we’re pretty awesome. But we can always be better and these eight points can push us to being a full-fledged metropolis, big enough to have its own fictional comic superhero and everything. Just follow these simple steps Columbus, and you’ll be well on your way toward urban metro greatness in no time.

More Pro Sports Teams

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I know, I’m just as surprised as you are. The irony that I would argue that Columbus needs more sports teams isn’t exactly lost on me. After all, if it doesn’t involve actual fisticuffs, I generally don’t care either way about your sports ball. But the fact of the matter is that pro sports teams afford a city a certain amount of visibility on the national scale. Not only that, but they help to clarify a city’s personality. Dallas Cowboys? Dallas obviously has a lot of cowboys and bandwagoners. Pittsburgh Steelers? That’s a city that definitely likes its steel and morally suspect quarterbacks that make questionable life decisions. See? It’s all in the name.

More Recognizable Landmarks

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And I’m not talking about a non-functioning boat belonging to a proven genocidal maniac (sorry, but all those rumors about ‘ol Chris CBus are pretty much true). I’m talking about some good old-fashioned, stone spire imagery that’s obviously trying to compensate for something. That or some ungodly large statue of the first guy to bite into a buckeye thinking it was chocolate (that couldn’t have just been me). Monuments don’t just commemorate a person or event, they give character to their surroundings. And if done right they do quite a bit to further a city’s branding and image.

Be One Of Those Hip City’s With Taco Bells That Sell Booze

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Seriously, when they develop those awesome taco bell cantinas that’ll serve up a margarita with your order of 14 supreme chalupas (do not doubt that I can down 14 chalupas cuz I’ll gladly do it), you don’t want to be one of those lame cities that won’t get one. Who do you think we are? Branson? Don’t get me wrong, Branson’s cool at family gatherings, but is he getting an invitation to Austin City’s vinyl DJ and cocktail night anytime soon? No. That night is reserved for Bill Murray enthusiasts and hip cities only. A bustling nightlife is the cornerstone of any great city. And sure, maybe that doesn’t mean a booze-fueled taco bell. But ask yourself this: Is Fort Wayne getting one? Do you want to be Fort Wayne? Because that’s how you become Fort Wayne.

Bring In More Conventions And Festivals

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It isn’t enough to just be super awesome, you have to prove to everyone around just how awesome you really are. Conventions and festivals draw large crowds into a city. Not only does this fuel the hospitality sector of Columbus’ economy, it gives us a chance to strut our stuff. Come for the Arnold Classic, stay for the Thurmanator, that’s what I say. People need reasons to visit the city and conventions do just that. Sure, we’ve got the Arnold Classic and Origins, but if we’re going to be getting the word out we need to make sure our convention game is strong. I’ve just got four words guys: Gathering. Of. The. Juggalos. Be brave Columbus, this is for your future.

Maintain A Healthy Balance Between Big And Local Business

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Essentially, they’re just two sides of the same coin when it comes to driving a city’s economy. Big business provides steady employment and financial consistency, while small business gives cities a personal touch and the opportunity for more adventurous gains. It’s only when one side begins to overshadow the other that it actually starts hurting or slowing a city’s commercial progress. Besides, we don’t want to be known as the sell-out city. After all, we’ve got that hip, regionally-sourced-hops-for-a-glutenfree-IPA, local-indie-everything, image to maintain.

Yes, We Need That Train Or Light Rail System ASAP

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For the love of all that is grey and scarlett, give us our light rail system and give it to us now. For decades folks have been screaming their head off about this, telling anyone and anything that will listen how much the city could really benefit from localized train routes. And we’re not saying it just out of curiosity, as if to ask, “you know what would be cool?” No. We’re saying it because this city’s public transportation needs a drastic revamp. We’re simply too big and growing in an even larger direction for the old stuff to even work anymore. Look, COTA, I know you’re trying. You’re throwing out every play in the book to get us there, from redoing the bus routes to actual self-driving cars. But it’s just not going to cut it. Give us our train, give it to us now, and don’t give us any lip over it. We’re serious.

Accept What It Is

via Ohio State University Football Facebook

Columbus, you’re great. Trust me, I love you babe. But one of the things that have always gotten between you and the city that you could always be is a lack of acceptance. Acceptance for what you are, what you were, and what you’re getting ready to become. Embrace your history— your former cowtown alter-ego, your college vibe, your artsy hipsterness. Embrace it all and do it without shame or prejudice. Even in architecture and design, let that rustic hominess come through. Play it at odds with a modern chic look and watch all that individual charm come pouring through. Do you, Columbus, because at the end of the day it’s what you do best.

Fight For What It Wants To Be

And that brings us to the Columbus of tomorrow. Once we’ve figured out what we are it’s time to figure out what parts will work for us going forward. We have to face our ugly truths, our faults and negatives, and force ourselves to work them out. Remember, anything we carry into the future as we transform and expand will be enlarged and contorted along with it. If that’s something we can live with, so be it. But keep in mind, this also provides us with a remarkable opportunity to lead, not just the state, but the entire region by example. Be the city you want to be Columbus, but also be good and be just. Otherwise, what’s the point in all of that Buckeye pride? I believe in you Columbus, you got this.

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