New Downtown leadership brings fresh perspective to challenges

Katy Smith
Columbus CEO
Columbus Downtown Development Corp. CEO Greg Davies

Downtown’s new leadership Greg Davies and Amy Taylor see a central city that’s full of promise. The job now is to convince the community to return.

The next iteration of the Columbus Downtown Development Corp. is coming into a challenging situation with a fresh perspective. CEO Greg Davies, a well-known, longtime civil servant who got his start in journalism and joined the CDDC this summer from a role at the Columbus Partnership, says he wants people to remember how fun Downtown can be.

“Today, I walked over [to Columbus Commons] and I went to a food truck,” Davies says. “And you know, I can’t do that in my living room. And I can’t see people in the sunshine and hear the music and just feel good for 20 minutes in a really cool environment.”

As office workers continue a very slow return and Downtown apartment buildings advertise move-in specials, Davies and Taylor say cheerleading is a big part of bringing the energy back. A campaign by Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District and a mid-July pep rally of sorts held by the city are some of the efforts. Helping people to feel safe walking around the urban center is part of it, too.

Columbus Downtown Development Corp. President Amy Taylor

Following months of civil unrest in 2020 and shootings such as the one at Bicentennial Park this spring, CDDC is working with the city on a security plan. Taylor comes into her role as president of the public-private organization after 14 years there, most recently as COO. A decade ago, there were different challenges to focus on, she says.

“We had a mall that was not working, we had a Riverfront that nobody went to. So those were important assets to start to build for the community. Now … the Downtown has evolved. Our community has evolved, the city of Columbus has evolved. And that’s exciting. That’s why I am still interested in being here to work with Greg.”

ksmith@dispatch.com