South Columbus progress report

By Laura Ann Sills - email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Some South Columbus residents admit they are seeing a change in their neighborhoods.  City officials held a Community Improvement meeting Tuesday night to talk progress and listen to citizens' concerns.

Leroy Johnson has made a life in South Columbus for more than 25 years, "I bought a home there, and I'm concerned about the security and the welfare of the neighborhood."

To help, the Columbus City Manager says projects on South Lumpkin Road have improved the look of South Columbus.

"We hope that once we've done that we've energized people in that neighborhood, in that community that they will stay the course, call 311, report things that get out quickly," says Isaiah Hughley, City Manager.

But, some residents feel like they're doing their part and the city needs to step up.

"The thing I think that bothers me the most is only in response to complaints do the city code enforcement people do things, and there are some that are completely obvious," says Owen Ditchfield.

Owen Ditchfield has been a South Columbus advocate for more than 40 years, and he isn't all complaints. He points to the National Infantry Museum bringing in lots of business and growth to the area.

"Six new motels are open or under construction and six new apartment complexes. We have a new Girls' Inc Club, a new senior center, and police department."

Tuesday it was confirmed that a new hotel and restaurant will be built next to the museum.

BRAC was also a topic of interest in the meeting.

"We hope we're getting to see a domino effect of those kinds of things happening that are going to all come together," says Hughley.

2010 looks to be a big year for South Columbus. The city will begin a streetscape project on Ft Benning Road.  Nearby Ox Bow Meadows is expanding.  And, an ice rink will be built next to the Columbus Civic Center.

Another project that was discussed is the resurfacing of roads throughout South Columbus.  Because of the local option sales tax yes vote, nearly 50 miles of roads will be resurfaced this year.

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