Uptown Columbus celebrates 30 years of change

By Sara Belsole

COLUMBUS, GA – In 1983, it was Downtown.

But then Columbus decided that up was the direction the area needed to go in. And now, it's Uptown.

A new name, and a lot of new changes over the past 30 years.

“In this regard it's not about change, it's about how we have been able to preserve our historic architecture,” Uptown Inc. President Richard Bishop says.

Local entrepreneur Buddy Nelms was there from the beginning and witnessed the transformation first hand.

“An area that we were ashamed of, to turn into an area we are so proud of, Uptown is where we come to celebrate,” Nelms.

Nelms bought his first piece of Uptown property in the 80's and is now in the bike business, the music producing business and the food businesses, not to mention the people business.

“It's all about the people, without that in the equation, none of this works,” Nelms says.

Nelms was honored at Thursday's meeting with the Rozier Dedwylder Award for his work in making Uptown a more vibrant place.

The numbers for Uptown are looking good. More than 85,000 visited Uptown last year and the gross receipt is up 17% since 2009.

Uptown is home to more than 150 apartments and hundreds of CSU students, but with all this growth, some residents complain there's not enough parking.

However Uptown says with the parking garage, there's plenty.

“We don't have a parking problem. Certainly there are  few things we need to manage, but we don't have a problem yet and with the city's assistance there will be some management plans in place,” Bishop says.

Uptown says if so much growth eventually means a parking problem, then its mission is right on track.

“We need to get together, we need the social aspects of what we're doing and I think that's where the equation comes together, that's where Uptown gives us a chance to bump into each other and be connected,” Nelms says.

The city is holding three Uptown traffic and parking meetings. The first one is Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers. The second is March 7th at 5:30 p.m. in Foley Hall in the Springer Opera House. The third is March 12th at 5:30 p.m. in Foley Hall.

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