Retirees Find Many Benefits to Living in Columbus
PHOTO CREDIT: Brian McCord
Retirement is something you earn after years of hard work. When it’s time to retire, it’s an opportunity to finally kick back, relax and enjoy the good life.
Designated a certified retirement community by the state of Mississippi, the quality of life for active seniors is above par.
Residents have many activities to choose from. With plenty of athletic opportunities for seniors through golf at Columbus County Club, walking or bass fishing along the riverfront, or as members of the YMCA, active seniors can stay that way.
Cultural events abound through the Columbus Arts Council, with gallery exhibits throughout the year. There are plenty of antique shops and a community theater. Musical festivals showcase the diverse culture in Columbus.
Quality of life draws even more people and is reflected in the number of retirement communities in the area, as well as the adequate amount of medical services for the region. Baptist Memorial Hospital employs more than 70 specialists and physicians, but there are also many clinics and other primary care facilities.
The Main Street revitalization project has injected new life into downtown Columbus, mixing progress with the charm of the Victorian structures. And for the culinary-minded, there are more than 50 restaurants to choose from.
In fact, for seniors who want to take retirement as an opportunity to learn a new skill or advance their education, most local schools offer reduced rates or waive the tuition completely.
“If they are over 65, then they can take a class with us that is on a full scholarship,” says Cassie Derden, manager of admissions at Mississippi University for Women. There is no limit on the classes people can take a semester, as long as there is space in the class and funds are available.
Derden’s mother-in-law has even taken a creative writing class several times. “She loves to read and has written poetry. It’s great if they want to keep their minds going and their interests going and be out and among other college students.”
It’s these reasons and more that have made Columbus a very attractive place for military personnel from Columbus Air Force Base to retire.
Retired Col. Buck Burgess was vice commander at the base from 2003-05. Recently retired from the military, he came back to Columbus from San Antonio, Texas and now teaches simulator training to students at the base five days a week.
“I have a great circle of friends here and the community is so friendly,” Burgess says of Columbus. And though family in East Kentucky urged Burgess and his family to move back there, they decided Columbus was the best place for them. His wife is a member of the Arts Council, his oldest son is at Mississippi State University, and his youngest son is a senior at The Mississippi School for Mathematics and Science.
“There’s a whole lot of reasons that drew us back here,” Burgess says. “The hospitality of the community, our ties here. It was an easy transition after 27 years in the military family. Here, they are glad to see you, and we are glad to be back.”