Open Letter: SPLOST Crucial for Economic Development
I am in the commercial real estate business, and often deal with companies that are looking to locate, or relocate, in Columbus. These companies do not have to choose our city. They have the world to pick from, and we have one place to sell them on.
When NCR, a computer hardware, software, and electronics company, was deciding on where to build their 300,000 square foot manufacturing plant, Columbus made it into the finals.
In the end, it came down to two cities, and Columbus was selected over Singapore. This was an incredible feat for a city of our size. NCR has now built two facilities and brought over 800 jobs to us.
We are competing for companies on a global scale, and we need advantages. Our last competitor, Singapore, is one of the world’s major commercial and financial centers; with 5.4 million people and the 5th busiest port in the world.
When companies are looking to locate, quality of life (school systems) and workforce tops their list. They want to know the community they are choosing to invest in, already invests in itself.
Our public school system is the foundation of our workforce. Ninety-five percent of Columbus’ students are educated in our public school system.
We have nine colleges and technical schools in the Columbus area. The majority of their students come from our public schools.
We have the opportunity to make a $192,000,000 infusion into our school system, and ultimately workforce, by passing the SPLOST.
This infusion will be used to build new schools, upgrade our school’s computers and information technology systems, improve sports facilities, even $10,000 would go to schools for musical instruments, and so much more. Thus, giving our students education and advantages other areas don’t experience.
Education is a key to our economic growth and progress.
Columbus is not a city that turns down a challenge, or an opportunity, look at the Chattahoochee River. We invested $26 million and transformed something we took for granted, in to a recreational jewel any city in the world would love to call their own.
When Ft. Benning decided to build a new Infantry Museum, Columbus stepped up to the plate. We raised $42,000,000 in private funds, to match Ft. Benning’s investment, and now we have a world-class museum that has over 300,000 annual visitors!
We need to continue this forward momentum. Columbus is known for its Public-Private Partnerships and the SPLOST is another opportunity to partner with our school system to make it even better.
Think about the impact of these $26 million (Chattahoochee River) and $42 million (Infantry Museum) investments on our city. Now what can we do for our school system with a $198,000,000 investment?!
This is the kind of investment that shows how we are committed to education and growth in our community.
We are competing on a global scale, we have proven that we can compete and we can win.
Let’s take this opportunity to invest in ourselves, again. There are companies looking at us right now, and we don’t even know it. Let’s take this opportunity to show them how vested we are in our community.
Please vote yes for the SPLOST and let’s keep Columbus moving forward. You can participate in early voting at the Citizen’s Service Center on Macon Road, or at your usual polling place on March 17th.
Pictures by: WLTZ, Wikipeda, CSU, AmericanWhitewater.org, Batson-cook.com, Joyoftaxlaw