Building Better Communities is proud to name the City of Columbus, Indiana, as one of three 2013 Primacy of Place Community Awards winners!
Mayor Kristen Brown set an ambitious long-term
goal of developing Columbus into the “cultural and creative capital of the
Midwest.” Her vision inspired the formation of the Columbus Arts District
around which she formed a planning committee that invested an entire year
gaining public input through open houses, town hall meetings, online surveys,
stakeholder conversations, and workshops. Multiple organizations participated
in crafting the vision. Former Cummins CEO J. Irwin Miller embraced Winston
Churchill’s observation that “We shape our buildings, thereafter they shape
us.” Miller believed the cost of mediocrity exceeded that of excellence. As a
result, the community has developed a long-standing commitment to embracing the
highest standards of quality in the creation of public places. Its successes
were recently chronicled by National Public Radio’s “Destination Art” program
and National Geographic Traveler’s ranking of Columbus 11th of 109 Top Historic
Destinations worldwide – and first in the U.S.
The Arts District designation was
awarded by the Indiana Arts Commission in 2012. One of its key purposes is
attracting and retaining a diverse base of talented people to foster continued
economic growth. The community’s application emphasizes, “No economically
strong region has been found to exist that did not also have a strong cultural
base – each sector complementing the other.” Positive growth in the arts
district is evident: 240 new residential apartments, $98 million of
public-private partnership investment with a ratio of five to one/private to
public funding. Cummins, SIHO Insurance, LHP Software, and other growing
businesses expanded their operations in the district. Private firm CERTEC Inc.
estimated the annual economic impact of the Arts District at $214.5 million.
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