The Chattahoochee Valley is bursting with excitement after some recent announcements.
The investments come as a breath of fresh air, especially in the wake of the Great Recession.
I’ve lived in other parts of the country. So trust me when I say, “This isn’t happening everywhere, folks. Let’s count our blessings.”
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The region may have its problems, poverty and crime among them. But the area is making great strides, despite the odds, and it’s fascinating to watch the story unfold.
Yet I’m amazed at how many people have never even heard of Columbus and surrounding areas. Some of my friends still think I live in Ohio. When I tell them I live in Columbus, Ga., some recall hearing about Fort Benning or Callaway Gardens at some point in their lives. But other than that, they’re stumped.
That’s when I brag about all the other great attractions in the area, from the RiverWalk, to the Springer Opera House, to the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center.
Drive 30 miles north to Pine Mountain and you find more to explore. In addition to Callaway Gardens, there’s FDR State Park, Wild Animal Safari and other attractions.
Columbus offers big-city cultural activities in a small-town setting, I tell them, and a great mix of urban and rural environments. It’s a place where anyone can find a niche, and if you need more excitement, just make a quick trip to Atlanta.
But who am I to talk? I just discovered the place four years ago. And if my husband hadn’t landed a job at a local corporation, I would still be in the dark.
In fact, I’m still in discovery mode. Since moving to the region, my family has spent little time in LaGrange. So last Sunday, my husband and I drove there just for the fun of it. That’s when we discovered West Point Lake, which is located on a 35-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee River.
The lake has 500 miles of shoreline and more than 26,000 acres of water surface. As we beheld the beautiful sight, we wondered why we never knew it existed. “LaGrange must have more going on than we thought,” we said. And we vowed to return with our kids.
Then news broke a few days later that Great Wolf Resort is bringing a 93,000-square-foot indoor water park to LaGrange. It will include a hotel with 456 themed suites, according to the company’s website, and it’s projected to draw about 500,000 visitors a year and create hundreds of jobs. The resort also is expected to boost tourism, not just in LaGrange but throughout the region.
Earlier in the week, we learned that a local company is building a Hampton Inn in Columbus. It will be located at 1201 Broadway across from the new Columbus State University College of Education and Health Sciences.
Now I’ll have more to brag about when I talk to friends, and more to do when they visit.
It sure is a great time to live here.