The City of Columbus has earned top recognition from Ball State University’s Building Better Communities for the development of the Columbus Arts District. The City was one of three Indiana communities honored at a ceremony August 8th with the Primacy of Place Community Award.
Building Better Communities is Ball State’s outreach and engagement division. This is the first year the division has presented the Primacy of Place Community Award, which recognizes communities for exceptional initiatives that have made them better places to live, visit and do business.
Columbus was selected for the award, along with Valparaiso and Walkerton, from among 22 entries by communities in 18 counties. The Columbus Arts District, which includes more than 360 arts programs and cultural assets, was the result of extensive planning and public input, which was gathered through more than a year of town hall meetings, surveys and workshops. Estimates have placed the district’s annual economic impact at $214.5 million. The city says one of the area’s main purposes is to help attract and retain a diverse base of talented people to encourage continued economic growth.
“This award is a very meaningful endorsement of our community’s placemaking efforts, from the previous administration to our current initiatives,” Mayor Kristen Brown said. “Developing downtown into a community crossroads and doing so with an arts and cultural orientation makes our community a much more interesting, exciting, engaging and welcoming place to live – for everyone in the community and for those considering relocating here. Jobs will follow good, skilled and talented people. The arts district initiative along with our education and workforce development initiatives are the most important and impactful things we can be doing for our economic prosperity.”
Members of the Columbus Arts District Coalition attended the awards ceremony at Ball State’s Indianapolis Center to receive the award, including Jayne Farber, Project Consultant of the Columbus Arts District; Jack Hess, Executive Director of the Institute for Coalition Building; Sherry Stark, Chair of Columbus Arts District Coalition; Karen Shrode, Executive Director of the Columbus Area Arts Council; and Heather Pope, Director of the Columbus Redevelopment Commission.