Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What Columbus Needs

Gotta share this.  The Milwaukee Bucks were in an important game last night against Miami and were fighting against Miami for the 6th playoff spot. Bucks were down by 14 with 6 minutes to go but had battled back. Very important game when in the last 3.5 seconds, down by 2 this happened. Bucks are in white.


I was at the CDA sponsored event yesterday "Charting a New Course for Economic Development in Columbus" which was well attended by business leaders but no one attended from the outer ring of businesses in Columbus (strip mall area). 

But what was very nice was that there was anyone there at all!  When I moved to Columbus these types of events were draw 5 people and we had 22+ yesterday.

The group talked about what was good about Columbus and what the challenges were and where did we want to be in 20 years.  Very informative.  This is actually the 2nd of these kind of public meeting I have attended in the last 4 months as the library had something like this and it was nice to see that they mirrored each other.

What we did was just list everything and then at the end sort of voted on the most important things.

The below are some of the things the group of people in attendance wanted Columbus to focus on.

The Crawfish river is the most under utilized strengths to a town I have ever seen.  I have lived in three towns in my life and every one had a river that was used and not ignored like we do in Columbus.  I've seen plans for fixing up the area but the previous governments were blind to this strength.

Luckily there is a plan in the works for canoe and kayak rentals in the future so we need to start to focus on this area and not wear blinders to entertainment.

I've always been a big proponent for youth and finding things for them to do and I have an idea that I need to talk to SOMEONE involved in schools and school government.  The youth of Columbus is also the future of Columbus and we need to get them involved.

Shovel ready properties is also move in ready properties.  Dane County has SO MUCH paperwork for building a business that Columbia County does not. We need to get developers to put in the infrastructure so an idea for a building will take less then a year.  This also goes with downtown businesses and we need to help building owners market their empty store fronts.  A sign in the window is not enough. 

The Urban Ninjas did a fantastic job this past winter with their art walk and the response from all of the building owners downtown was amazing.  This group really got all owners involved which was unheard of in the past. I was glad to hear yesterday that other businesses believe they are good for Columbus (but I digress).        

Location Perception was big.  For instance. People in Madison believe Columbus us SO FAR AWAY when it's actually a faster drive to Columbus they from the east side of Madison to the west side.

A friend of mine drove to Columbus and he commented - WOW - it's not as far as I thought! Somehow we need to get it into peoples brains that we are not 100 miles away.

When I lived on the east side of Madison it took me 40 minutes to get to the west side.  The ONE thing that drives me nuts is the lack of advertising in the Isthmus for Columbus events. The Isthmus readers are the ones that would make the trip. The people that read that newspaper are the cool ones looking for unique things to do outside of Madison. An ad would cost a lot but the Room Tax Funds are sitting there doing nothing but collecting dust.

Dinner and a Show - people are begging for things to do in Columbus - look at Recreational Destination - There was a lot of talk about the lack of bike trails in Columbus.  We're not talking about smooth roads but trails from park to park and so forth.  And one of the big things talked about was the lack of quality entertainment.

State-Wide Attraction was about events (Arts & Ale for instance) and branding. Trying to get people to come to Columbus and THEN treating them well.  It does no good to have a event and then do it poorly - that is anti-marketing.  Put on an event, spend money to make it as good as you can - THAT is marketing a town, not just a piece of paper with the word Columbus on it.

Transportation Options is another word for taxi?  How do seniors do shopping if they can't drive?

All these ideas were discussed with WEDC and they will now take it and work out a plan or at least a plan on how to make a plan.  This is a good group and I read and participate in the Connect Communities forum which is a great place to kick around ideas and problems with other officials in communities.

Columbus is not that different then most small towns.  Actually a little better off as many other towns have a much worse downtown situation.  We only have a 25-30% vacancy rate.  But the biggest problem is that Columbus people do not know what Columbus offers. They do not shop here, only live here.


The Badgers - did you know that the Badgers and Kentucky have the tallest teams in the sweet 16 BY FAR!!   If you take the average size of all players that play more the 10 minutes a game there is only one team, in the NBA, that has a taller team.  Minnesota.  And Wisconsin is just 1/10 of an inch shorter then Kentucky.

Kentucky has a 41% of winning the National Title
Arizona 14%
Duke 12%
Wisconsin 8%  according to Nate Silver.


Did you know that on average once every 4 days the US Power Grid is digitally attacked?


Ireland's largest bookmaker came out with the latest numbers for 2016 presidential race.

Hillary (not my favorite choice)  6/5
Jeb Bush  4/1
Walker 10/1

Marco Rubio 10/1
Liz Warren 18/1  
Ted Cruz 33/1

One last thing - First Grade readiness.

We all know that we live in times that are MUCH MUCH safer then when we were kids. When I was a kid there were razor blades in Trick or treat bags and all sort of violence. Statistically we are in a very very safe time in the world.

One of the things in 1979 to find out if your child was ready for 1st grade were can he or she count 10 pennies and color inside the lines and . . . . . . "Can he travel alone in the neighborhood (eight blocks) to store, school, playground, or to a friend's home?"

How many parents let their kids walk 8 blocks by themselves. In some towns they arrest parents for letting their kids be free range.  I used to walk 8 blocks to school barefoot in winter to kindergarten.

have a great day   

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