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8 Reasons to Move to Columbus, GA, Right Now

Affordability, career opportunities, community support, abundant outdoor activities and vibrant arts and cuisine scene are among the benefits of working and living in Columbus.

By Val Hunt Beerbower on January 13, 2023

The RiverWalk in Downtown Columbus, GA
Samantha Taylor

More people are finding the life they love in Columbus, GA, a place where all feel welcome to leverage their potential and create something worthwhile.

From innovative entrepreneurs to exciting new developments, this midsized city in west-central Georgia is experiencing exciting momentum.

“Having a sense of pride of place and knowing what makes us unique as a community is important to our success when attracting and retaining talent and jobs,” says Tabetha Getz, executive director of the Columbus 2025 community strategy.

Here’s a sampling of the many reasons people and companies choose to move to Columbus.

1. You Can Afford to Live Here

The region’s affordability is attracting new residents to the area. With typical home prices well below the state and national averages at around $151,000 (Zillow, September 2022), it’s no wonder Columbus made it to the No. 3 spot on Forbes’ list of Cheapest Places to Live (with the Best Weather). Income goes further in Columbus, where, according to payscale.com, the overall cost of living is 16% lower than metros like Atlanta.

2. Location, Location, Location

Businesses choose Columbus for its accessibility. Birmingham, Atlanta and Tallahassee, Florida, are three major cities less than three hours away. Columbus avoids big-city congestion, with an average commute of about 18 minutes.

The Columbus Airport is also quick and convenient for broader travel, whether for work or leisure. After a nearly $21 million upgrade, businesses and residents around the region are benefiting from a recent terminal modernization project and infrastructure improvements. Improvements included upgrades and additions throughout the terminal that now feature an indoor pet relief station and a refreshed rental car return lot.

The Columbus Airport is located just off I-185 and is served by commercial carriers Delta Air Lines and American Airlines. The airport also accommodates corporate jets, general aviation and military flights.

3. Great Military Presence

Some newcomers to the area arrive via the military. While they arrive having been assigned to nearby Fort Benning, many choose to call Columbus home after they exit the military. In fact, almost 6,000 individuals posted at the base, along with their spouses, exit their military service and enter civilian life every year. Also, local resources like Still Serving Veterans help veterans access their VA benefits and connect them to meaningful employment.

The Photoshop Selfie House Museum in Columbus, GA
The Photoshop Selfie House Museum

4. Plenty of Fun Opportunities

New developments are in the works downtown, creating a vibrant arts and culture scene full of new restaurants, trail systems, whitewater rafting and sporting events.

Phenix City Amphitheater, Bo Bartlett Center, Ma Rainey House, RushSouth Whitewater Center and The Columbus Museum are just a few other top attractions. “Since the cost of living is fairly reasonable, families have enough in their budget to attend fairs, festivals and other attractions,” says Sherricka Day, co-owner of The Photoshop Selfie House Museum in Columbus.

The business features bright, fun and interactive booths and backdrops for visitors, families, artists and other guests to take selfies or create video content.

“We are also a couple of hours from the beach, amusement parks, the state fair and other destinations,” Day says. “A family can just hop in their car and get away for the weekend.”

5. Find Stellar Support to Launch Your Dreams

Sherricka Day of The Photoshop Selfie House Museum in Columbus, GA

Sherricka Day
“Our community is full of people that love to pour into others.”

Like other entrepreneurs in the area, Day attributes the success of her business to local support.

“Throughout the year, there are business networking opportunities, classes and workshops hosted by different organizations aimed at providing entrepreneurs with the support needed to get their business started or keep it going,” she says.

Many small business owners rely on supportive programs like StartUP Columbus. Located in historic Uptown, this business incubator creates accessibility for financial, human and other professional resources.

“StartUP Columbus is a great resource for individuals that are looking to start their own business,” Day says. “It offers a CO.STARTERS program that walks participants through the process of starting a business.”

“SCORE is also another partner organization available that matches entrepreneurs to mentors to help along their journey,” Day adds. “The Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce is another valuable organization within the community.”

6. Companies Thrive in Region’s Strong Economy

The area is quickly becoming a destination of choice for larger companies, as well, drawing in businesses from target industries like logistics (ecommerce), manufacturing (food and electric vehicle components), defense (robotics),and energy (green infrastructure).

Columbus has a strong and diverse economy, with numerous companies enjoying success. The top employer in the region has long been Fort Benning, with about 45,000 military and private employees. Other thriving companies/organizations include Aflac, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Piedmont Columbus Regional, Pratt & Whitney, St. Francis-Emory Healthcare, Synovus and TSYS, a Global Payments company.

“What I like about Columbus is that the people that you need to talk to for advice or support are usually just a phone call or email away,” Day says. “We are surrounded by prominent businesses – like Aflac and W.C. Bradley – that got their start in Columbus. Knowing their stories and seeing how their businesses have become successful makes the idea of starting a business a little more realistic.”

7. Plenty of Land Ready for Relocating Businesses

If you’re a company owner looking for a good place to do business, the economic development professionals at the Greater Columbus Georgia Chamber of Commerce can assist with identifying sites in the Columbus region. Muscogee Technology Park features sites with all infrastructure, including several that are shovel ready with easy access to I-185 and the Columbus Airport. The city also provides a range of incentives to grow your business here.

8. Columbus Offers a Highly Skilled Workforce

The Columbus workforce is ready and eager. The Muscogee County School District offers a future-thinking academic curriculum that includes STEM and career technical education programs, and Columbus High School is a magnet school rated among the best high schools in Georgia.

After graduation, there are several great higher education choices in the region. Also, Fort Benning provides a major source of well-trained personnel. Many choose to start their next career in Columbus.

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