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Columbus named Indiana Community of the Year

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Posted at 10:10 PM, Aug 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-29 22:10:31-04

COLUMBUS — The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is honoring Columbus as its 2022 Cummins Community of the Year for various reasons.

With a population of about 50,000, the city has a robust business climate, philanthropic spirit, exceptional workforce, and quality of life opportunities, according to a release from the Chamber.

“Columbus possesses the rural feel of a small, Midwestern community along with the talent, innovation, and culture typically found in large cities. The mix is dynamite,” Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar said. “The Indiana Chamber is delighted to acknowledge the employers and individuals there who are driving progress and positively impacting lives.”

Columbus has a booming manufacturing industry that employs 39% of the city's workforce. The industry contains areas ranging from electronics, automotive, aerospace, and more.

One of ten Columbus residents is born elsewhere and 54 different languages are spoken throughout the schools.

“We want to be the best community of our size in the country," Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop said. "You may be familiar with the notion of a BHAG – Big Hairy Audacious Goal – that’s what we more or less adopted here in Columbus. It’s the kind of thing that, while different people may define it differently, everybody understands that what we’re after here is excellence."

Alongside the city's already existing perks, officials are wanting to move the city further ahead.

The former Fair Oaks Mall will be renovated into NexusPark. NexusPark will be a community center for health, wellness, and recreation. It will be jointly owned by the city and Columbus Regional Health.

NexusPark will feature retail shopping, an outdoor community park, restaurants, an indoor sports fieldhouse, and more.

An innovation center and "maker space", Columbus Propeller was launched last fall. It includes a metal shop, a 3-D printing shop, a woodworking shop, and an electronics and robotics lab.

The city was selected earlier this summer after a review of all the cities under consideration went through a five-person Indiana Chamber panel.

“Receiving this honor is validation that our many efforts are having the impact we intended. I’m so pleased to accept this recognition on behalf of every business and every citizen in Columbus.” Lienhoop said.