The latest data from the US Census Bureau confirms what anyone who pays attention has long known: Columbus is a galaxy far from the “cowtown” it was when Peruna’s famous “cure-all” tonic peddler, Samuel Hartman, established what was once the largest farm. in the nation in 1890 south of what is now I-270 along South High Street.
The problem is not who we were.
The question is whether we will fully embrace what we have become and whether we can maintain and spread prosperity to those who do not.
Following:City Council Approves $ 54.3 Million in Tax Relief for Former Hartman Site Data Center
These are the multibillion-dollar questions the capital must resolve as it continues to grow.
And researchers predict it will grow.
The Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, a central planning agency in Ohio, predicts the 15-county region will reach 3 million people by 2050.
Right now, central Ohio – home to one of the country’s youngest and most educated populations – has five of Ohio’s six fastest growing counties.
The census estimated that 235,600 more residents lived here in 2020 than in 2010, which represents about 90% of the state’s total growth.
Columbus’ population has exploded to 905,748, a 15% increase from 787,033 in 2010. It is the 14th largest city in the country and Ohio’s 3C giant.
Central Ohio is also the most financially secure region in Buckeye State, benefiting from several industries beyond state government and higher education.
While recovering from the impact of COVID-19, Columbus has been an economic star in the Midwest for decades.
Businesses want to come here.
Google, for example, just announced that it will invest an additional $ 1 billion in its data center operations in New Albany and has purchased 618 acres of land in Columbus and Lancaster for other possible centers.
This land includes part of Samuel Hartman’s former farm site at 5076 S. High St. on the Far South Side.
In March, Columbus City Council approved $ 54.3 million in tax incentives for a data center on this land.
Great challenges await us. and far too many do not benefit from the relative good fortune of Columbus.
You don’t have to look for a place to live to know that the housing market is on fire in central Ohio. The flames shouldn’t go out anytime soon.
The projected growth will be a curse if the demand for housing – both affordable and not so affordable – is not met by supply.
Following:Opinion: There is a reason for Columbus’ affordable housing problem and it must be resolved
We have the people, but not the places to put them.
Last year, the number of new homes and apartments increased by 11,864, but that figure is lower than the 14,000 to 21,000 homes that a 2018 report says the region would need to add each year to meet demand until ‘in 2050.
Following:Columbus area home construction jumps in 2020, but not enough to meet demand
In July, Columbus, Denver, Nashville and Rochester, New York area homes sold at the fastest rate in the country, according to Realtor.com.
Houses up for grabs are often financially out of reach.
A March review by The Dispatch found that the average home value in about 60 communities in central Ohio and Columbus climbed 11.3% between February 2020 and February 2021.
Some neighborhoods in Columbus have seen much higher climbs. Values increased 32% in the South of Main area, 34% in Driving Park, 28% in Milo-Grogan and 43% in South Linden.
The largest price hike in central Ohio history occurred in 2020. Buyers paid a median price of $ 232,000 for a Columbus-area home, 10.5% more than ‘in 2019.
Racial inequalities in healthcare, education, policing and other areas have been in the spotlight due to the coronavirus pandemic, the murder of George Floyd and the high-profile murders of blacks by the police here.
Addressing these issues is the right and right thing to do. Finding solutions will also help to consolidate the future of the community.
The Columbus region is diversifying.
Between 2010 and 2020, Franklin County’s black population grew 21.3% to just under 300,000 while the county’s white population declined 0.4%, to 802,685, according to the census. . The county’s Asian population jumped 64.6% to over 74,000 and the Hispanic or Latino population increased 63.6% to 91,182
Following:Where has Columbus’ population grown the most? Suburbs, increase in black population in census data
Central Ohio’s estimated 180,000 foreign-born residents added $ 15.4 billion to the region’s gross domestic product and $ 2.1 billion to its revenue, according to a report from the New US Economy. tax.
Immigrants make up 8.7% of the region’s population, but make up 11.5% of the region’s gross domestic product.
Following:Central Ohio agency continues to experience strong population growth for decades to come
How Columbus will move in the future is something that needs to be addressed today.
Transportation and infrastructure are among the many growing challenges facing cities and municipal leaders.
Columbus drivers lost an average of 71 hours stranded in rush hour traffic jams in 2018, a 6% increase from 2017, according to a report from Inrix Research.
The pandemic “has shaken up short and long term transport trends,” according to the RIX 2020 Global Traffic Scorecard.
As a result, motorists in the Columbus area lost an average of only eight hours due to traffic jams last year. This is a decrease of 78% compared to 2019.
There has long been a push for light rail and other improvements to public transportation, including a rapid transit line to connect downtown Columbus to the northwest side.
Following:Opinion: Amtrak plan is important for central Ohio
The planned system is part of the LinkUS Mobility Corridors Initiative which is based in part on the Insight 2050 Corridor Concepts study of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission.
The challenges are many, but the solutions exist.
Columbus has come a long way since the days when it could rightfully be called a cowtown.
He has a long way to go.
Fortunately, we have the character and the motivation to do it, but it won’t be easy.
Editorials are the Dispatch Editorial Board’s factual assessment of issues important to the communities we serve. These are not the opinions of our reporting employees, who aspire to neutrality in their reporting.