Data from the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s Center for Public Affairs Research indicates that while Platte County has seen a population increase between 1 and 5 percent since 2010, Nebraska as a whole is losing about 2,000 people a year to other states. That sounds a little discouraging, especially when the state is ranked 17th in the nation for the cost of living.
However, we also are enjoying an increase in minorities coming to live here. Nebraska’s population reflects a 21 percent minority population, while Columbus is slightly higher at 24 percent and growing. April’s 2020 Census will be a terrific opportunity to see just how much we have grown.
More than ever, young professionals are realizing the Columbus area has “Something Good” to offer them. I bet you know several alumni from Scotus, Columbus High and Lakeview who have started their own businesses, become teachers, nurses or financial lenders, or are making a good living as leaders in local manufacturing companies, commercial businesses or retail stores.
At the Chamber, we see more and more people between 20 and 40 volunteering for community events, representing their employers as Commodores, and helping others live better lives by belonging to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Comfort Closets and Night to Shine.
Columbus is a welcoming community, and you can be a primary spokesperson for us by inviting someone you know to come visit, either permanently or for a few days.
Maybe it’s that cousin from Texas you only see at family reunions, the friend of your daughter who told you it is expensive to live in Omaha, or that college roommate who, in every Christmas card, says you need to get together some day. Make “someday” happen this year.
Invite them to an event which showcases the personality of our community, like the Red, White, KaBoom! Fourth of July celebration or Columbus Days Aug. 15-18. Send a job posting from the Somethinggoodcolumbus.com website to someone you know who would be perfect for the position. Ask them to come for a holiday weekend and take them to your favorite restaurant or to your child’s sporting event. Give them a snapshot of what life would be like if they lived here.
Reach out to the those you see at church or in the grocery store who are visiting their parents or are back in the area for a special get together. Encourage them to consider Columbus for the next phase of their lives. If they are settling down to have families, remind them of the upbringing they had, the variety of school options available to them, and the safe environment in which their children will live.
In short, be a spokesperson for Columbus. Share what you love about the area and show others there is truly “Something Good” waiting for them here. If they are looking for a career change, remind them of our excellent medical services, the quick drive to and from work, not to mention the variety of housing options under construction.
Columbus is a prospering community growing in every direction with more than $165 million in construction projects in 2019 than the year before, including businesses being built along the Parkway, new police and fire stations, and industrial expansions at our hospital and at multiple manufacturing facilities. Jobs are plentiful and our quality of life here is the best in the state. As our community grows, so do opportunities for its residents, so let’s all spread the word.