A 12-year journey is nearly at an end! Yes, it’s been awhile but actually the timing couldn’t be much better. For those of us who were in the early meetings about what became the “Quality of Life Centers,” the upcoming vote on the Columbus community building is really quite a milestone.
It began in the spring of 2008 with a planning session that brought Columbus organizations together in our normal collaborative spirit. From that grew a partnership of the YMCA, Columbus Public Schools STEM Academy, East-Central District Health Department and the Columbus Public Library. Those groups have supported each other and three out of the four projects are now complete. That leaves just one!
Why does this project deserve your vote?
This proposal continues the well-established Columbus tradition of collaboration, providing space for the arts, Children’s Museum, and other city functions, along with library services.
This space will improve the quality of life of those living in and around Columbus – providing access to education, information, and recreation.
The proposed Children’s Museum would be huge attractor for young families, which Columbus really needs to bring here.
It’s clear over the last six months how critical high-speed access to the internet has become, and the library will provide that for the people of Platte County.
If you love downtown Columbus, this type of anchor project is key to its future.
We already have the funding source. This vote gives the City permission to issue bonds to pay for the project and the library, children’s museum and arts portions would be paid with the sales tax approved by voters for this purpose in 2016. Those funds can’t be used for another purpose – they were approved by voters for this project.
And why is the timing perfect for this project? First, the interest rate environment makes this a great time to take on a building project. Since construction costs continue to rise, issuing bonds to pay for the project may actually save money compared to waiting until enough sales tax has accumulated to pay cash. Second, that “Quality of Life Centers” collaboration ends Dec. 31st and that brings a deadline for the four projects to have completed their fundraising. If we meet that deadline, we’re going to bring significant outside financial resources to Columbus.
Columbus and greater Nebraska has a unique window of opportunity to attract people to fill jobs, build businesses, and continue to grow our community. Projects like this signal to those folks that Columbus is a place that’s moving forward and providing the amenities they expect. The time is now, the funding is in place, the plan is fiscally sound.
Let’s vote FOR these bonds and give the green light to a generational project that grows Columbus, brings energy to downtown Columbus for the next decade, and is Something Good for Columbus families.