It’s really no secret that I have had an on again-off again love affair with Columbus, Georgia. As an upperclassman in high school I was dying to get out and go out on my own. I did leave Columbus for beautiful LaGrange, Georgia-an hour’s drive north. But six months later I was back in Columbus and sitting in a chair at Columbus State University. This was not my choice and I have to admit, I was less than pleased with the turn of events. As my friends left and began to travel the country and the rest of our beautiful world, I was sitting in Columbus with business as usual. I felt lonely and bored. What I didn’t realize at the time was that Columbus would become one of my favorite places to be.
Now, Columbus isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. We have room to grow and improve, but one has to admit that we have got it going on. Our Downtown/Uptown area is gorgeous and one of my favorite Saturday morning rituals is the Market on Broad with local vendors selling fresh fruits and veggies, flowers, original art, and lots more. We have a growing MidTown area which is home to Lakebottom Park-my favorite place to run, Lewis Jones, lots of local shops, a museum, and some of my favorite neighborhoods. The north end of town is thriving with a open-area shopping center, newer restaurants, great subdivisions, a movie theater, and lots more.
From east to west, north to south, Columbus has a lot to offer. We are home to the State Theater of Georgia; The Springer Opera House. We have the RiverCenter, the River Walk, uh…THE River (Chattahoochee). We are also THE home of Coca-Cola, contrary to what folks in Atlanta believe. Dr. Pemberton lived in Columbus when he invented America’s favorite soft drink. We have 3 great museums, libraries galore, decent shopping, lovely parks, and the list goes on and on.
I may not have had the option to leave before, but I am at a point in my life where I could leave and I am choosing to stay. I choose to stay because Columbus is a city of opportunity, of community, and values. I choose to stay because Columbus is no longer just my grandfather’s hometown, but a city that can compete with Augusta, Savanna, Macon, and even Atlanta. We are no longer the ugly step-child to the ever growing ATL. We are home to the world’s largest credit card processor and AFLAC. We were even named “Best City in America to Raise a Family” at one point.
I choose to stay because I love Columbus and I see it’s potential. I choose to stay because home is where the heart is and Columbus has my heart.