The Best News Of 2017 That Put Smiles On Our Faces

As we say goodbye to 2017, it’s important to look back on all of the things that made us happy this year.

Reflecting back on the year, it would be easy to get weighed down by the bad news. But here at Columbus Navigator, we think it’s important to celebrate the things that make our city wonderful, the things that make living here great, and the stories that warmed our hearts.

Total Solar Eclipse

The United States experienced an amazing phenomenon this summer as a Total Eclipse passed over much of the country. Here in Columbus, people were excited. The capital city didn’t experience total darkness, but people went outside in droves nonetheless.

Libraries around the city handed out Eclipse glasses and local businesses and organizations hosted massive watch parties.

Luckily, Columbus will be in the center of another total solar eclipse, which will occur in 2024 and give the state of Ohio front row seats.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center

via Easton Town Center

When KDB closed at Easton, people were unsure of what would take its place. But this summer, it was announced that a brand new LEGOLAND Discovery Center would be opening.

LEGOLAND Discovery Center is an indoor, scaled down version of the LEGOLAND Theme Parks. This 36,000 square foot facility is only the 11th LEGOLAND in the United States and the first in Ohio.

The attraction will have a range of exciting LEGO play areas, including two interactive rides, master classes from the LEGO Master Model Builder, special party rooms for birthdays, a 4D cinema, and MINILAND, an area dedicated to all things Columbus. The store will open in Fall 2018.

Fiona The Hippo

2017 will forever be remembered as the year that a baby hippo collectively stole all of our hearts. Fiona the Hippo was born two months premature at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden in January. From her first moment, we were mesmerized.

Fiona’s story reached across the entire country, as everyone hoped for a happy and healthy life for this little girl who couldn’t wait to be born. Fiona has a true underdog story, beating the odds at every corner.

She was born weighing just half the weight of a normal hippo. But after just a few weeks, she was up and on her feet. From watching her chase bubbles to swimming around her enclosure to making the world descend to laughter with a fart, Fiona has been one of the greatest joys Ohio has experienced this year.

Top Golf Is Coming To Columbus

Via Facebook

Our city is growing and changing every day. Columbus residents are used to the ever-expanding list of exciting developments. But when a national chain with the clout of Top Golf announced their intention to open a location here, people went nuts.

The hype is deserved. Top Golf is one of those places that once people go, they start pestering everyone in their friend group until they go and have fun, and the cycle continues on and on. The new location will be at Polaris and is set to open this summer.

Things like Top Golf and LEGOLAND Discovery Center aren’t just exciting for residents. They’re the kind of thing that helps to put Columbus on a larger stage.

Chris Bradley Got To Spend Christmas At Home

Perhaps the most heartwarming news of the year was that WBNS 10 TV Meteorologist Chris Bradley got to spend his Christmas at home, with his family. Bradley announced he was battling cancer in March.

Over the summer, Bradley announced he was in remission and of course, we all celebrated and breathed a sigh of relief. But that relief was short-lived. After the Thanksgiving holiday, Bradley’s family announced that he was no longer in remission and fighting pneumonia in the ICU at the James.

But Chris Bradley isn’t one to give up. That’s why the best news story of the whole year came when it was announced that Bradley would be able to spend the holiday with his husband and two children at their home. His courage and determination is an inspiration to the city, and we couldn’t be happier that he keeps fighting every day.


via Hyperloop One Facebook

This year, Columbus was chosen as one of 10 locations across the world that won the Hyperloop One Global Challenge. If the route comes out on top, the Midwest Connect Hyperloop would get you from Columbus to Chicago in 29 minutes or Columbus to Pittsburgh in just 18 minutes.

The Hyperloop contest first started making waves at the beginning of the year, and the Midwest Connection Loop beat out dozens of other routes to make it into the top 10.

Using the Hyperloop, passengers and cargo are loaded into a pod and accelerate via electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube. The pods will reach speeds of up to 250 miles per hour. Having technologiy and transportation like this would completely change Columbus. Currently, we’re the second largest city in the United States without an intercity train or bus system. Connecting these massive cities in the midwest region would be a game changer.

Project QT

In most cities, as the urban areas grow, they tend to lose touch with nature. In Columbus, there is a consistent effort to make sure that doesn’t happen. Project QT is the most exciting park the city has promoted.

Columbus Metro Parks is teaming up with Wagenbrenner Development to create this one-of-a-kind park at an old limestone quarry in Marble Cliff. The park will offer mountain biking, paddle boarding, kayaking, hiking, rappelling, and more.

Who wouldn’t want to spend their summer days there?

Spirit Airlines

via Spirit Airlines

Thanks to Spirit Airlines, it’s never been cheaper to fly out of Columbus, which makes our hearts and our wallets happy. The airline announced that starting February 2018, they would be offering direct flights out of John Glenn International to Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Tampa, and Fort Myers.

Starting in March, the airline will also offer seasonal direct flights to New Orleans and Myrtle Beach, two of the most popular vacation destinations for central Ohioans.

Pretty awesome, right?

The Ohio State University Offers Free Tuition

Education has always been an important issue for me. This year, The Ohio State University made a big announcement that will have positive impacts on students for years to come.

The university will offer free tuition to students that qualify for Pell Grants. The average tuition for an incoming first-year is $10,591. Pell Grants are awarded to individuals with a family household income totaling $50,000 or less yearly. It’s estimated that it will cost the school $11 million dollars per year and cover tuition for roughly 3,500 in-state students.

“Addressing college costs and protecting college opportunity are defining issues of our time,” said university President Michael V. Drake. “Ohio State is fully committed to being a leader in this effort.”

We’re right there behind you, Mr. President!

Cheers to an awesome year in Columbus everyone! Here’s hoping that 2018 brings us more of this kind of news.


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