This Can't Wait: Boom Times

Mary Yost

As fireworks Downtown this Friday kick off Independence Day weekend celebrations, Columbus has plenty of reasons for a little extra civic pride.

For starters, Cbus is now Smart Columbus. We earned that designation when the US Department of Transportation chose Columbus last week over six other finalists and out of 78 total applications. That sends $40 million from the federal government plus $10 million from Vulcan Inc. to Columbus to match with $90 million in commitments from corporations and organizations affiliated with the Columbus Partnership along with the city, state and county funds.

Business is also booming south of the city in Circleville, with President Obama taking note last week during the SelectUSA Investment Summit to promote foreign investment to create US jobs. Last year's event helped bring Italian tissue paper Sofidel Group to Pickaway County.

Red, White & Boom! is one of the nation's largest Independence Day displays. Making it even better this year is the completion of the Scioto Greenways project last fall, adding 35 acres of reclaimed riverfront on both sides of the Scioto River Downtown. COTA can get you there with less hassle and offers numerous Park & Ride locations across the city. COTA can also get youth to summer jobs and activities with discount passes and get the whole family to summertime destinations like the Columbus Zoo and Zoombezi Bay with admission ticket deals.

As throngs of revelers enjoy Scioto Greenways this weekend and for years to come, it's worth noting the spectacular reclamation was spearheaded by former Columbus Dispatch Publisher and civic leader John F. Wolfe, who died Friday of cancer. Wolfe didn't like to take credit personally, but we should celebrate all he did for Columbus-much of it as a co-founder and guiding voice of the Columbus Partnership.

Former pioneering astronaut and US Senator John Glenn has also done much for his home state and central Ohio, which is why Port Columbus International Airport is being renamed Tuesday to John Glenn Columbus International Airport. It's a fitting tribute for the city's front door.

Those who haven't yet made their mark have an opportunity to share their dreams and challenges Tuesday evening in a Town Hall for Today's Students at Vue Columbus. Elected and education officials will be on hand as part of the event sponsored by The America Forward Coalition to address social issues.