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Jim Bulkley

Jim Bulkley

I must begin with a huge thank you to our group of professional EMT/Firefighters. I was recently the recipient of a visit by them to my house. From the time the call was made, to arriving at my house, and finally arriving at Columbus Community Hospital, they were true professionals.

Everyone involved, from the P.D. that arrived first, to assess the situation and help if needed, to Lt. Kluver and his entire team, they all handled themselves in a way that let you know you were in competent hands.

We all see our new fire station being built. And we see our ambulances, fire trucks, and other equipment in use. But we sometimes forget about the individual men and women that staff the force. I can assure you that Columbus is blessed to have a dedicated team of full-time EMT/Firefighters supported by a talented volunteer group serving our community. And as we grow, the fire department is developing and implementing programs to maintain this excellence.

I couldn’t tell this recent story without also giving kudos to the staff of Columbus Community Hospital. From the moment I arrived at the ER until admittance for further testing, I was treated with the utmost care. There are many individuals that I should mention but in so doing I will certainly miss someone. So just let me say - THANK YOU - to all involved!

It seems ironic that the afternoon of my event I had been a guest at the hospital, along with 10 others, of President/CEO Mike Hansen. The point of the meeting was to get updated on what is happening at Columbus Community Hospital. We have all heard bits and pieces of what’s taking place on and around the hospital campus. In past writings, I have mentioned the most recent construction that is currently taking place. But there is so much more going on. Along with the newly expanded facilities is new and updated equipment. New doctors and other professionals continue to join the staff. Many of these people call Columbus home.

We truly have a “hidden gem” in our community. We are becoming a medical health care destination. People are coming to Columbus Community Hospital for care and services that only a few years ago they drove to Omaha or Lincoln for. Health care quality is a huge factor when new businesses and families are looking at communities to relocate. Having a first-class hospital staffed by great people is a huge plus for Columbus.

A lot of activity continues all around the community. Items mentioned in earlier articles are progressing well. The hospital expansion, Pillen Family Farms office, the police and fire stations, the St. Bon’s expansion, Columbus Hydraulics are all among structures currently under construction.

There are other structures or facilities that are new to the area. Granville Homes' new office, Foreman Lumber with their remodel of the old Bomgaars, Great Plains State Bank breaking ground. All of this activity shows great growth for Columbus.

Road work and infrastructure improvements continue all around us. Storm sewer work is taking place along the Parkway. The 12th Avenue viaduct is well underway. And Third Avenue paving south toward Quail Run is progressing.

Final approval was given for Freddy’s to come to town. They will occupy space near the new Hampton Inn in the old Walmart development. It is so refreshing to see an area like the old Walmart, that was vacant for years, being developed and brought back to life. This is a part of economic development that sometimes gets forgotten. The headlines talk about the new companies, the expansions, and all of this is important. But the development of new retail and the revitalization of older areas is essential for our community to continue to grow.

Let me take a minute and address those naysayers that always know better, could do better, and are cyber warriors because they sit behind a computer or their iPhone. We constantly hear about how WE don’t bring certain stores or businesses to town. We hear that WE have agreements with businesses already here that keeps others out of town. We hear that WE decide who should and shouldn’t do business in town. Many of these comments were circulating with the announcement of Freddy’s coming to town. It’s a shame that instead of being excited that a new business has chosen Columbus as a new location to bring their business we get the whining and crying about it not being good enough.

A short recap from high school economics. Businesses are run to make a profit. To make a profit companies look at a multitude of items. Population, spending trends, location of competitors, location of their other businesses, potential growth of the area, just to name a few. The City’s involvement comes only after a prospective business has decided that Columbus “could” be a possible location for their business.

Then the City’s involvement begins. This involvement could include, but not be limited to permits, possible zoning issues, maybe TIF financing (if that might be an option). And with all of these issues in play, I can assure you the City does its best to accommodate and encourage. But at the same time we must make sure this possible new business is treated the same way as all others.

We all want new choices for shopping and dining. But we cannot force the issue. Be excited about what we have. Support our current outlets and when someone new arrives support them. This support will show others that Columbus should be a destination for their future business.

Water bills and water quality have been in the news lately. As most of you now know we had a billing snafu in our water bill. Bringing on new software caused a mistaken reading of many meters, resulting in 12-14 days of extra-billing in that cycle. We have corrected the issue. Thank you for your patience through this process.

Recently, we were informed by the state that our water supply tested slightly over the limit for arsenic. On your next water bill will be an in-depth explanation of this issue-PLEASE READ THE ENTIRE NOTICE! Your questions and concerns should be answered. Our water supply is safe and we will continue to monitor as required. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact City Hall.

Fall has begun. It is a great time of year to enjoy outdoor activities. Enjoy the change of colors and the beauty of the season.

Something Good Columbus!

Jim Bulkley is the mayor of Columbus.

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