We don’t have anything distinctive like the Empire State Building or Independence Hall. No Gateway Arch, no Sears Tower (sorry, Willis Tower), a serious lack of beach and certainly no mountains. It’s easy to understand that someone who’s never been here might be at a loss to picture the place; rust belt, corn, something something football. That’s because people who come here aren’t after photographic memories and never have been. No, a lot of people who visit end up staying here because of quite another type of memory.
Sounds like something we’d say in the OKC, doesn’t it? (Except maybe for that stuff about corn.) Actually, it’s about Columbus, Ohio, a place with maybe a smidgen more of a national image, but which is earning respect.
And stop me if you’ve heard this one:
The public-private partnership is such that the rather conservative editorial page of our daily paper backed an income tax increase on people working in the city; that half-percent increase was approved by voters during the recent economic downturn.
The three and a half stages of MAPS were sales-tax increases the city doesn’t have an income tax but the rather conservative editorial page of The Oklahoman has been very supportive of MAPS over the past two decades.
And there’s this:
The construction of the interstate highway signaled the arrival of rapid suburb development in central Ohio. In order to protect the city’s tax base from this suburbanization, Columbus adopted a policy of linking sewer and water hookups to annexation to the city. By the early 1990s, Columbus had grown to become Ohio’s largest city in both land area and in population.
And now, it’s the 15th largest city in the nation. (We’re 27th, though we have almost triple the space.) They must be doing something right.