An auto accident in early February on the corner of Camp Three Road and Kettle River Blvd. demolished the CenturyLink cabinet that housed more than 450 telephone and Internet connections for the southern portion of Columbus. I would like to extend a sincere thank you to CenturyLink Technician Jamie Aho and his crew who have spent over a month replacing, repairing, and reconnecting Columbus residents’ Internet and phone services during some of the coldest weather in decades.
We know how important a reliable and fast Internet connection is, especially during this time when so many are working or schooling from home. Last Summer, the Council appointed Council Member Janet Hegland to lead this charge and we have had several meetings on this topic with our two Internet providers, the Public Utilities Commission, and DEED with the goal to develop a plan to bring dependable Internet to as many Columbus residents as possible. Within the next month the City will be sending a survey to all Columbus households asking for your input regarding your current Internet service and your broadband needs. Please take the time necessary to complete the questionnaire as thoroughly as possible to help us obtain accurate information to use in our discussions with our utility providers.
We can’t wait for the day that we can safely open City Hall, the Senior/Community Center, and the Council Chambers to the public; however, the City is pleased to announce that our audio/visual systems at City Hall have been upgraded to allow residents to virtually attend City Council, Public Hearings, and Planning Commission meetings via Zoom. This is new technology for City Hall and we are pleased to offer this new opportunity for residents to stay connected during the pandemic. Please be patient as everyone adjusts to the new technology.
Projects continue to move forward as the construction season approaches. Reconstruction of Hornsby Street South will begin this Spring and we are expecting it to be finished by mid-Summer. This will complete the reconstruction of Hornsby Street from Hwy. 97 to the junction of 145th. Another section of Furman Street near Thurnbeck Preserve is scheduled to be paved early this summer.
We are excited to welcome Loves Travel Plaza to Columbus and they are scheduled to begin construction by early Summer. Many residents have asked about the plans for the Fast and Fresh HyVee that is planned for the Northeast side of the Hornsby/Hwy 97 intersection. City Administrator Mursko recently spoke with HyVee and was told that currently they have no plans to deviate from the original plans presented to the City. We are pleased with continued development in the Freeway Corridor.
Columbus is looking forward to the delivery of the new fire engine truck before summer. At the first Fire Board meeting of the year, Chief Al Newman reported that much-needed upgrades have been completed on Fire Station No. 2 in Columbus. The walls have been repainted, the floor has been resurfaced, new gear lockers and work bench have been installed.
We are looking forward to another busy and productive season ahead. Everyone stay safe!
Jesse Preiner is the Mayor of Columbus.