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Old 10-26-2017, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Columbus, GA
893 posts, read 763,562 times
Reputation: 223

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19-year-old proposes connecting Columbus to major Interstate; Council backs him up | Columbus Ledger-Enquirer

Quote:
Imagine a major interstate running through Columbus, spurring economic development, prosperity and connecting military installations along the way.

That’s the scenario that 19-year-old Frank Lumpkin IV presented to Columbus Council Tuesday, while making a pitch for Columbus to be connected to a major interstate that will run from Meridian, Texas, to Augusta.

Lumpkin, a 2017 Columbus High School graduate now enrolled at the University of Georgia, said I-14 Texas already has been designated by Congress and is currently being built in segments. The first 25-mile stretch officially opened on January 26, 2017 near Killeen, Texas and Fort Hood.

If built locally, I-14 could run along Highway 80/ J.R. Allen Parkway/Sam Wellborn Highway, a road that is already built to interstate standards, Lumpkin explained using PowerPoint slides with details. He said the Trump administration’s plans for infrastructure improvements could help fund the project.


“The additions would have to be made on the eastern end of J.R. Allen, where limited access ends,” he said. “Most parts going through Columbus would not require the process of eminent domain to take place. We have options as far as areas that do need construction. And if we get started soon, we can make these additions before east Columbus becomes denser.”

Speaking during the public agenda, Lumpkin asked councilors to pass a resolution advocating support for I-14 and to submit it to the proper state and federal officials; push for reservation of land on the east end of Highway 80/J.R. Allen Parkway and ask the Chamber of Commerce to be the point of contact for communication with other cities, towns and counties along the route.

Later in the meeting, councilors added support for Lumpkin’s proposal to the city’s 2018 state legislative agenda with a unanimous vote, which came as a pleasant surprise to the teenager.

“That’s awesome,” he said after the meeting. “My hard work is paying off, I guess.”

Lumpkin, currently a finance/real estate major at UGA, is a private pilot and Eagle Scout. He’s also a former member of the city’s Youth Advisory Council. He said the idea developed while participating in the Chamber of Commerce’s Youth Leadership Columbus as a junior in high school.

One of the questions at the meeting was, ‘What is holding Columbus back?’”

“My answer to that was infrastructure,” he said in an interview with the Ledger-Enquirer. “And then I wrote: Airports, Railways, and Highways.”

That afternoon, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson spoke at the meeting. She saw his idea, and asked, ‘Who wrote this?”

The mayor then talked about how much she agreed with his assessment that infrastructure was holding Columbus back, Lumpkin recalled. From there, he delved into research, doing his senior project on Columbus’ aviation needs. He later began looking into the interstate issue.

Talking to the Ledger-Enquirer, Lumpkin said his great-grandfather’s brother is Wilson Lumpkin, who served as governor of Georgia in the 1800s. His great-grandfather, Frank, served as the state’s chief justice.

“... And very interestingly, my great-grandfather, I believe it is, was chief on the commission to build Highway 80...which I’m trying to turn into Interstate 14 now,” he said. “I figured that out after beginning to work on this project.”

Lumpkin said I-14 is currently being built in the Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi corridors, but little is being done in Georgia and Alabama. He said Columbus can’t afford to miss another opportunity to be connected to an interstate.

“Years ago when the interterstate system was established by President Eisenhower, there were plans for I-85 to come through Columbus,” he said. “However, at that time our city leaders decided that an Interstate would not be positive for Columbus. As times progressed, history has proven that cities not connected by the interstates tend to be isolated. Though Columbus has I-185, it’s just a spur, and we remain largely unconnected from the rest of the nation.”

“I-14 is our second chance,” he said. “... It is more than just a concept.”

Following his presentation, councilors commended him for the research and expressed support for the project. His parents, Tammy and Frank Lumpkin III, sat proudly in the audience.

“Frank, I never cease to be amazed by you, and this is a fantastic presentation,” said Councilor Walker Garrett. He made reference to Dr. Bob Wright, who was up next on the public agenda to request that councilors support state gambling legislation.

“I think it has a lot of tie-ins and I think Dr. Wright might have some interest in this presentation, too,” Garrett said. “And I will be happy to be a sponsor for the resolution you proposed. I think it’s a great idea. ... I thought when I ran for council, ‘What would happen if an Interstate ran through Columbus? And we now have an opportunity. We now have a second chance.”

Councilor Evelyn “Mimi” Woodson recommended that Lumpkin meet with staff from the city’s planning and engineering departments, as well as representatives from Fort Benning, the Chamber of Commerce, state legislators and congressional representatives.

“A resolution is a wonderful thing, but it’s more impressive when you have the buy-in and have lots of people behind you,” she said. “I think it’s an awesome idea. ... We’re always wanting young professionals like yourself to come forward, because one day we will not be here and the future is yours and this city is yours.”

Lumpkin showed a map from a UGA study showing in red persistent poverty throughout the United States by county.

“Almost all the area 14 travels through are depicted in red, showing that these areas are in need of great relief from this poverty,” he explained. “Like the 14th Amendment ended slavery, the interstate would provide means to an end for the many living in persistent poverty across the southeast. Interstates have been proven to bring economic prosperity to people living near them.”

Other benefits he mention, included:

More connectivity between Fort Benning and a number of military installations, seaports and major cities.
A means for Columbus to get ahead of its growth, unlike Atlanta and Houston who are scrambling now to accommodate day-to-day commuter traffic.
Making Columbus a thru-way, as well as a destination city, where people would stop to shop, dine, visit attractions and stay in hotels
Opportunities for economic development through existing companies and by recruiting new business to the city.
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Old 10-26-2017, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Columbus, GA
893 posts, read 763,562 times
Reputation: 223
It's not necessarily a new idea but it is one that needs to happen and I'm glad to it brought up. I hope this really gets things going in that direction. Like mentioned it would be a big help for economic development and making travel much easier going east and west. It would be a win for the state as a whole!
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Old 10-26-2017, 12:18 PM
 
Location: Columbus, GA
893 posts, read 763,562 times
Reputation: 223
Here is another site that gives more information about the proposed interstate

https://www.interstate-guide.com/i-014.html
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Old 10-29-2017, 01:38 PM
 
Location: Columbus, GA and Brookhaven, GA
4,921 posts, read 6,806,166 times
Reputation: 1644
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWColumbus View Post
Here is another site that gives more information about the proposed interstate

https://www.interstate-guide.com/i-014.html
Fingers crossed this happens one day.
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Old 10-29-2017, 04:07 PM
 
142 posts, read 185,011 times
Reputation: 39
I would like to reference a specific quote made in the LE article:


“Years ago when the interterstate system was established by President Eisenhower, there were plans for I-85 to come through Columbus,” he said. “However, at that time our city leaders decided that an Interstate would not be positive for Columbus. As times progressed, history has proven that cities not connected by the interstates tend to be isolated. Though Columbus has I-185, it’s just a spur, and we remain largely unconnected from the rest of the nation.”

Out of genuine curiosity, I have to ask -- on what rationale would the leaders of any community decide that having an interstate passing through their city NOT be a positive thing? If having an interstate is associated with job opportunities, economic improvement, better retail/restaurant options, etc., why did Columbus' leaders decide that it would a bad thing for the interstate to pass through here?
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Old 10-30-2017, 07:32 AM
 
94 posts, read 84,932 times
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There are some people in this town that are happy at the size we are at now. OLD MONEY
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Old 10-30-2017, 07:35 AM
 
Location: Columbus, GA and Brookhaven, GA
4,921 posts, read 6,806,166 times
Reputation: 1644
Quote:
Originally Posted by stewbaby1986 View Post
There are some people in this town that are happy at the size we are at now. OLD MONEY
That mindset has been changing for years though.
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Old 10-30-2017, 09:54 AM
 
241 posts, read 154,901 times
Reputation: 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hedgehog23 View Post
I would like to reference a specific quote made in the LE article:


“Years ago when the interterstate system was established by President Eisenhower, there were plans for I-85 to come through Columbus,” he said. “However, at that time our city leaders decided that an Interstate would not be positive for Columbus. As times progressed, history has proven that cities not connected by the interstates tend to be isolated. Though Columbus has I-185, it’s just a spur, and we remain largely unconnected from the rest of the nation.”

Out of genuine curiosity, I have to ask -- on what rationale would the leaders of any community decide that having an interstate passing through their city NOT be a positive thing? If having an interstate is associated with job opportunities, economic improvement, better retail/restaurant options, etc., why did Columbus' leaders decide that it would a bad thing for the interstate to pass through here?
I think that's a question we will never fully understand; I believe they just didn't grasp the magnitude of what the interstate would or could do for the area (being a completely new concept at that time). Obviously enough, that was a mistake. Both Columbus and Albany made the same decision. Luckily for Columbus, I-185 was added as a spur, Albany wasn't so lucky. If it were my decision, I-185 should be extended to Tallahassee through Albany and redesignated as a primary interstate (I-81).
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Old 10-30-2017, 04:36 PM
 
Location: Columbus, GA and Brookhaven, GA
4,921 posts, read 6,806,166 times
Reputation: 1644
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheYoungProfessional View Post
I think that's a question we will never fully understand; I believe they just didn't grasp the magnitude of what the interstate would or could do for the area (being a completely new concept at that time). Obviously enough, that was a mistake. Both Columbus and Albany made the same decision. Luckily for Columbus, I-185 was added as a spur, Albany wasn't so lucky. If it were my decision, I-185 should be extended to Tallahassee through Albany and redesignated as a primary interstate (I-81).
That's a no brainer in my opinion.
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Old 10-30-2017, 08:31 PM
 
241 posts, read 154,901 times
Reputation: 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Columbus1984 View Post
That's a no brainer in my opinion.
I wonder what the councils next course of action will be beyond supporting the idea? I actually thought this "idea" was supported years ago but I don't know of any action.
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