Watch the ideas fly as three smart folks discuss What Columbus Needs

Something struck me as I sat munching my wedge salad and my lunch portion of banquet-fare chicken at the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s weekly community conversation at the Boathouse April 26. It was a thought so simple, yet so immediate, that I jotted a single word down in my notebook: smart.

Columbus is smart—maybe smarter than it’s ever been. The city is chock full of people who spend significant amounts of time thinking about how to make life better here. And it’s working. What made the thought so satisfying, however, was that our city’s leaders aren’t just the traditional handful of old men sitting around an expensive table. I remember a time when we would wonder aloud, what happens to us when Les Wexner and John Wolfe and select few so-called Titans are no longer around to hold this city’s hand and lead it into the future?

Fewer people ask that question now. Our bench is much deeper these days, and the proof was sitting right in front of me, engaged in a discussion about what Columbus needs, a conversation inspired by feature of the same name that appeared in the May issue of Columbus Monthly.

Senior editor Dave Ghose, the author of that story, moderated the conversation at the Columbus Metropolitan Club on April 26 with three panelists selected because their expertise matched the three concerns that dominated our community “What Columbus Needs” survey: transportation, education and the growing gap between the have and have-nots in the city.

Our guest panelists were Rhonda Johnson, director of education for the city; David Brown, founder of the Harmony Project; and Elissa Schneider, chair of Transit Columbus who also serves with the Mid-Ohio Foodbank and the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. They were brimming with passion and vision and ideas, sharing their expertise in little soliloquies, sometimes so inspiring that they drew rounds of applause from the audience. I was so engaged listening that I could really only find the time to write “smart” in my notebook. Watch the video attached here. I think you’ll agree—Columbus is getting really smart.

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