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The original item was published from 10/20/2023 1:46:29 PM to 10/21/2023 12:00:01 AM.

News Flash

Columbus News

Posted on: October 20, 2023

[ARCHIVED] FROM THE MAYOR: Staff honors, construction updates and community happenings (October 2023)

MAYOR

On Friday, Oct. 13, the City hosted its annual City Recognition Dinner for our City employees.

This is our opportunity to say thank you and give kudos to those that tirelessly serve our community. Along with a nice meal, refreshments, and some light hearted entertainment we took the time to identify and honor some individuals that stood out for their service during the year. 

Productivity Awards were given to Jonathan Lovell, Jean Van Iperen, Justin Sorenson, and Police Officer Terry Heesacker. Employee Service Award went to Rick Bogus and Elicia Micek. Continuing Education Award went to Esperanza Castellano and April Rivera. And our Citizen Volunteer went to Joshua Johnson.

We also honored those who retired during this past year and marked the years of service for many. Those years of service recognized were 5 years, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 35. Along with all of these currently working we welcomed many past retired employees that came to say hello and reminisce. 

It is such an honor to lead this group of employees. These individuals are counted on by each and every one of us every day. They keep our vital services functioning and in repairs 24-7, 365. Police, Fire, E-911, street maintenance and snow removal, water and waste water, Library, parks and recreational areas, all aspects of city government. We take for granted what we have. So, it is extremely important to let them know the value they provide our community with. 

I also must say a few words about the vital role that all our volunteers serve. We honored Joshua Johnson and he was deserving but there are so many more. These individuals give of their time and talents to serve on various committees. These committees serve as the first step in getting many things moving within city government. They do the homework and the legwork on ideas and projects that are being brought before the City Council. 

And there are numerous committees that these individuals serve on. Planning and Zoning, Park Board, Airport Commissioners, Library Board, Senior Center Board, Board of Adjustment, Downtown Business Improvement District, just to name a few. The impact of these volunteers is priceless. And there is always a need for more volunteers. If any of this might interest you. Please reach out to me. 

On Tuesday, Oct. 17, I was honored to welcome over 500 high school students to our community. Once again, Centro Hispano, with the help from other's,  sponsored this year’s Latino Youth Summit, held at Central Community College. Just think about the opportunity to address and excite over 800 individuals that will be graduating from high school and trying to decide what to do with their future. 

This is such a great event and it allows us to showcase the many post high school opinions that exist here in Columbus. It might be continuing education and Central Community College has so much to offer. It might be looking at internships that many of our local manufacturers are offering. It might be out right employment and who has more opportunities than Columbus with our awesome array of businesses. All of which are looking to hire. As always my hat goes off to Centro Hispano and its partners in coordinating such a great event. 

The City Council has embarked on a new process as we work to bring discretionary projects forward this year. In the past Department Heads would determine projects to be funded and then bring those projects forward to the City Council. This year we revamped this process. We sent the proposed projects to the Council members and asked them to rank them in their perceived order of importance. This was tabulated and formed a priority list for this years projects. 

With this priority list we then asked Council members to identify which projects meant the most to them and that they would like to sponsor. Council members were then assigned to 3-4 individual projects and will be involved with Staff as each projects moves forward toward hopefully funding and Council passage. The hope is that by having this early involvement on these projects Council members take ownership and help shepherd their particular project along. This should make for clear understanding for the public and more transparent. 

Some of the discretionary spending that will be worked on this fiscal year. City workforce affordable housing subdivision, Downtown improvements, Centennial Park restroom/concessions, Downtown UPRR grade crossing, Memorial stadium study, WiFi in public spaces-phase 2, Master trail, Renovation of parking lot S of Community Building, Centennial Park splash pad, Aquatic center locker room renovation, Lost Creek traffic control, Van Berg Learning Center, and Turf. Watch for updates on these particular projects as they begin the journey through the process for final approval. And remember, although these have been approved as part of the 2023-24 budget each and every one must come before the Council for final approval. There is plenty of opportunity for public input and discussion. 

One particular item that is on the discretionary spending list is the Lost Creek Parkway Traffic Study. We are all aware of the increase traffic along the Parkway due to our city’s growth and the current road construction on 23rd Street. I can assure the public that the design of a traffic signal at 48th Avenue and Lost Creek Parkway is well underway. There are many moving parts to this process and we are addressing them. We are not delaying this in any way. Actual construction of a traffic signal is months out due to lead times on poles and controllers. But we are moving this forward. 

As I told you last month, the contractor involved on the 23rd Street project is happy with their progress. Some paving has been done on the south side with much more happening in the next few weeks. Completion of this phase is scheduled this fall. And as a reminder. When this is complete the street will be open as a 4-lane through the winter and until they begin Phase 2 in the spring. 

If you have been by the Community Building lately you have seen the work getting done where the old City Hall once sat. I would expect this area to get finished (concrete paving) in the very near future. This will add some well anticipated parking. 

And finally, let me tell you about a new concept we will be rolling out soon-“Community Coffee at City Hall!” An opportunity for the public to get some one on one time with the Mayor, a City Council member, City Staff. Held in a smaller friendly venue the idea is to rotate city representatives and hold get togethers where people can come and have informal conversations about what’s going on in our town. Just another way to give everyone an opportunity to express themselves and increase our transparency. State tuned for more details to follow. 

Something Good Columbus!

Jim Bulkley-Mayor

Copyright © 2023 City of Columbus.


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