From: Kevin Lair
Received: Jan. 12
An article in The Republic reported on Mayor Kristen Brown’s support for a restaurant in the Commons that would be distinctive to Columbus. I strongly support her position on this matter.
Communities should strive to provide a true sense of place, a communal identity that is valued and the ability to leverage their own unique assets. Some communities have limited assets and opportunities to separate themselves from other communities and can only aspire to “me-too” efforts. However, Columbus is not one of those communities. Columbus is a “have,” not a “have not.”
This makes it all the more disappointing when opportunities go unappreciated or squandered. As someone that is relatively new in the area, it is perhaps easier for me to see Columbus as a place with advantages that most communities would envy. The Commons is a central public venue, and therefore, it provides a great opportunity to make a statement about the community and provide experiences that only could be discovered here in Columbus.
Vibrant, quality local businesses return a much higher percentage of revenue back into the community than national chain businesses. However, the long-term investment in the character of the community is a public good that provides critical return for a community. I realize convenient, familiar and predictable can be nice at times, but they pale in comparison to one-of-a-kind, amazing and unforgettable.
While I support local businesses, the most important perspective is that we should be seeking creative individuals, organizations and businesses that value and support the uniqueness of Columbus. J.I. Miller’s architectural ambition for Columbus has created lasting value and returns in the social and financial capital of the community.
This vision separated Columbus from many otherwise similar communities. This is a rare gift and one that we should not only continue to appreciate but to build on by continuing to invest in ways that make Columbus truly special.