Columbus Metro

About the Community of Columbus

Columbus is a consolidated city-county located on the west central border of the U.S. state of Georgia. Located on the Chattahoochee River directly across from Phenix City, Alabama, Columbus is the county seat of Muscogee County, with which it officially merged in 1970.[4] Columbus is the third-largest city in Georgia and the fourth-largest metropolitan area. According to the 2017 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, Columbus has a population of 194,058 residents, with 303,811 in the Columbus metropolitan area.[5] The metro area joins the nearby Alabama cities of Auburn and Opelika to form the Columbus–Auburn–Opelika Combined Statistical Area, which has a 2017 estimated population of 499,128.

Columbus lies 100 miles (160 km) southwest of AtlantaFort Benning, the United States Army‘s Maneuver Center of Excellence and a major employer, is located south of the city in Chattahoochee County. Columbus is home to museums and tourism sites, including the National Infantry Museum, dedicated to the United States Army‘s Infantry Branch. It has the longest urban whitewater rafting course in the world constructed on the Chattahoochee River.

Columbus History

This was for centuries and more the traditional territory of the Creek Indians, who became known as one of the Five Civilized Tribes of the Southeast after European contact. Those who lived closest to white-occupied areas conducted considerable trading and adopted some European-American ways.

Founded in 1828 by an act of the Georgia Legislature, Columbus was situated at the beginning of the navigable portion of the Chattahoochee River and on the last stretch of the Federal Road before entering Alabama. The city was named for Christopher Columbus, its founders likely influenced by the writings of Washington Irving. The plan for the city was drawn up by Dr. Edwin L. DeGraffenried, who placed the town on a bluff overlooking the river. Across the river to the west, where Phenix City, Alabama is now located, Creek Indians still lived until they were forcibly removed in 1836 by the federal government to make way for European-American settlers.

The river served as Columbus’s connection to the world, particularly enabling it to ship its commodity cotton crops from the plantations to the international cotton market via New Orleans and ultimately Liverpool, England. The city’s commercial importance increased in the 1850s with the arrival of the railroad. In addition, textile mills were developed along the river, bringing industry to an area reliant upon agriculture. By 1860, the city was one of the more important industrial centers of the South, earning it the nickname “the Lowell of the South,” referring to an important textile mill town in Massachusetts.[6]

Recent History

During the 2000s, expansion and historic preservation continued throughout the city. South Commons has been revitalized. This area combines the 1996 Olympic softball competition complex, A. J. McClung Memorial StadiumGolden Park, the Columbus Civic Center, and the recently added Jonathan Hatcher Skateboard Park. The National Infantry Museum has been constructed in South Columbus, located outside the Fort Benning main gate.

Columbus has a center for the fine and performing arts. RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, which opened in 2002, houses Columbus State University’s music department. In 2002 Columbus State’s art and drama departments moved to downtown locations. Such initiatives have provided Columbus with a cultural niche and with vibrant and modern architecture mixed among older brick facades.

The “Ready to Raft 2012” campaign is a project that created an estimated 700 new jobs and is projected to bring in $42 million annually to the Columbus area. The project resulted in the longest urban whitewater rafting venue in the world.[12] This, in addition to other outdoor and non-outdoor tourist attractions, led to around 1.8 million visitors coming to Columbus during the fiscal year 2015, according to the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau.[13]

In upcoming years, the city predicts that an additional 30,000 soldiers will be trained annually at Fort Benning due to base realignment and closure of other facilities.[14] As a result of this, Columbus is expected to see a major population increase.

Columbus Economy

According to Columbus’ 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[26] the top employers in the city are:Columbus Education:

  • Fort Benning
  • Muscogee County School District
  • TSYS
  • Aflac
  • Columbus Regional Healthcare System
  • St. Francis Hospital
  • Columbus Consolidated Government
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield of Georgia
  • Columbus State University
  • Pratt & Whitney

Housing in Columbus

Forbes listed Atlanta as the #1 Rental Market in the U.S. and the #4 “Most Affordable Housing Market,” while CNNmoney.com says, “Atlanta is the 4th Best City in the U.S. to invest in.”  The average foreclosure price in Atlanta, Georgia is $73,900, 35% below the national average of $113,000.  Cash flow opportunities are in the 8% – 12% ROI (Return on Investment) range, and for the price of an average foreclosure, the Rich Life Real Estate team provides renovated properties with tenants in place.  There is strong demand for rental property in Atlanta with 45.41% of the properties serving as rentals, and vacancy rates at 17.56%. Foreclosures are down 30% from last year, and prices went up 17.82% last year.  Atlanta provides newer housing stock than any other investment market in the country for affordable prices.

Columbus History

Atlanta’s history begins in 1836 when a railway was built connecting the port of Savannah to the Midwest. The railway ministered Atlanta into becoming a military supply hub during the Civil War. The city was the Union’s primary target during the war, which lead to its burning of all public buildings except for hospitals and churches in 1864.

Remaining robust in defeat, Atlanta arose from the ashes to gradually reconstruct, creating rapid population growth from surrounding states. By 1880, Atlanta was the biggest city in the state. Prominent companies including Coca-Cola and Delta Air Lines built headquarters in Atlanta, furthering population and job growth.

Atlanta’s business growth and appeal was showcased worldwide when it received the coveted bid to host the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. The city continued to draw in millions by hosting sporting events, including Super Bowl XXVIII and XXXIV, four NCAA Men’s Final Four, MLB, NBA and NHL All-Star Games and more.

Between having the capacity to host major events to remaining a leader in business, Atlanta strives to build upon its rich history each day.

Culture in Columbus

Culture lovers revel in Atlanta lifestyle and the arts and theatrical communities. From the Atlanta Ballet to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra – which has won more Grammys than any other U.S. symphony – the city is home to world-class acts in dance and classical music. In addition, the metro Atlanta region offers several permanent theater groups, from the Fox Theatre to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center, as well as the world-renown High Museum of Art, a division of the Woodruff Arts Center.

Communities throughout metro Atlanta house cultural institutions and groups unique to their areas. Additionally, a number of other cultural attractions draw large audiences to the metro Atlanta lifestyle, including:

  • Alliance Theatre
  • International Museum of Art & Design
  • Fernbank Museum of Natural History
  • Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University
  • Callanwolde Fine Arts Center
  • Atlanta Contemporary Art Center