The diversity of our community amazes me.

On Oct. 13, I attended the inaugural Centro Hispano gala. This event was held at the Ramada and attended by a great cross-section of our community. The goal of Centro Hispano is to have a more diverse and inclusive business community in Columbus. Through this partnership, 10 Hispanic-owned businesses have joined the chamber of commerce. This is awesome and the gala highlighted this and many individuals who have helped move these relationships forward.

Continuing on with this diversity theme, do you realize the diverse nature of our business community and its importance to Columbus? In the 10 months that I have been your mayor I have had the honor of being part of milestone events at three of our community's major employers — Cargill, with the opening of their remodeled facility; ADM, celebrating their 25 years of operation in Columbus; and just this week BD with a very special celebration.

BD celebrated 15-50-Future. Fifteen years in the east plant, 50 years of cannula production at the west plant and the future — the groundbreaking at the east plant for a 69,000-square-foot expansion. Just imagine a company based in New Jersey that came to Columbus in 1949 and started a new plant with 15 employees now employs 1,690 area residents.

It is these manufacturers, and many others, that continue to allow Columbus to prosper and grow. The great mixture of ag-related businesses to businesses like BD, with their medical-related products, has allowed Columbus to stay strong while other communities have often struggled or stagnated during economic downturns. This diversity is a great asset.

Activity within the city continues with many construction projects underway. The Glur Park lift station has transferred over and is complete. The Third Avenue viaduct is continuing to move forward. We have a NDOR traffic cam at the site tracking the construction. Take the time to get online and view the progress. The 18th Avenue pedestrian overpass is also progressing close to schedule.

Property acquisitions are finalizing on the 12th Avenue viaduct and we should be able to roll into this project when Third Avenue is complete. The East Highway 30 lift station is moving along and should be completed soon. Work will soon begin on the new Quail Run lift station. And let's not forget the huge project that is taking place at our wastewater treatment plant. When this is complete Columbus will have a state-of-the-art treatment facility that will serve our community for many years to come.

Columbus, Something Good! As always, I am available for questions, comments and concerns.

Jim Bulkley is the mayor of Columbus. He can be reached at jim.bulkley@columbusne.us.

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