Holiday wish: Industrial park loses its flood plain status

Call it a Christmas wish and New Year’s resolution wrapped into one. The City of Columbus plans to reapply to have 700 acres in the Walesboro Industrial Park reconsidered to be taken out of flood plain status.

If that were to happen, it wwwould allow the city to take a big step forward with economic development plans.

The city has a shortage of shovel-ready land for companies interested in investing in Columbus. Walesboro Industrial Park offers a tremendous economic opportunity, but the current floodplain designation prevents that from reaching fruition.

The early Christmas gift for the city was the result of a year’s worth of behind-the-scenes communications with the state Department of Natural Resources. Mayor Jim Lienhoop reported that resubmission of paperwork that led to the floodplain declaration should result in the lifting of the floodplain designation on 90 percent of the 700 acres, meaning about 630 acres could be recategorized as appropriate for building.

That would only be one step toward the ultimate goal, but an important one. Additional development hurdles through the U.S. Department of Defense and Federal Aviation Administration would be the final obstacles to clear.

Every new year offers a reason for hope and better things to come. The news that a reconsideration of the 700 acres at Walesboro Industrial Park could yield the desired result is a good reason to have hope.

Future economic development of that land would mean more jobs locally — a reason for the community to celebrate.