COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – A map always is useful when you are trying to figure out where you’ve been and where you are going. Soon, Columbus will have just such a map to guide growth, development and the city’s priorities for the next 30 years. The City Council reviewed the city’s new comprehensive plan Tuesday morning.
Citizens and city leaders have spent the last three years putting together a long-range plan of city goals. From annexation to drainage to handicapped services, a handful of citizens had questions and thoughts for City Planner Christina Berry. But overall, the plan drew high marks as a guide to addressing the city’s needs and taking advantage of its assets.
“The city of Columbus has a great future in store for it. I mean a lot of things that are going on with the market, we’re going to show improvements and because of the comprehensive plan were are in a better position to position ourselves for whatever those market forces bring us,” said City Planner Christina Berry.
The plan includes simple things like improved signage and better sidewalks. It also takes a big picture look, developing central areas like Highway 45 North, downtown and East Columbus.
“The gateways, the green ways, all the plans for the bike trails and things like that are so important to our community because quality of life is what industry and people look for when they come into a community. How we build in and redevelop the areas that are already in disarray, you know lets take care of those areas,” said Jan Miller from the Mississippi Main Street Association.
The city’s Planning Commission has started following some of the guidelines and the city already has started implementing some of the park improvements. But those are only small steps. The council will work on setting larger priorities based on the plan’s recommendations. Some of those, like drainage, will be expensive and take time. Others are simpler and can make an immediate difference.
“Right now the plan is almost 40 years old. If we just sit down with out engineer firm and come up with a master plan for what we can do with drainage and also just simply cleaning out our drainage, that’s some of the things we can do immediately and I hope we take the initiative to do it,” said Councilman Kabir Karriem.
“Some of the things that we can implement short term that would not be too financially bearing to the city would be city street signing. Signage needs to be updated and improved for markers throughout the city,” added Councilman Bill Gavin.
The City Council will hold more public hearings and study sessions on the plan in the future.
To see a copy of the plan, visit the city planning office or the Columbus library. It’s also on the city’s website at Columbusms.org