Upon first glance, Columbus and Guntersville, Ala., may seem to have little in common.
But upon further examination, the pair of cities may appear similar in many aspects, said Melissa Cook, vice president of the Chamber division of the Columbus-Lowndes Development Link.
“Yes, Columbus is a lot bigger. But there are actually many similarities between the two,” Cook said of the northeast Alabama city if about 7,400. “They have a lake and are in close proximity to the Tennessee River, just like we have a lake and a river here.
“They have a community college there, and a downtown area just like we do,” Cook added.
About 15 representatives and officials from Guntersville will visit the Friendly City in mid-July to tour the city”s Riverwalk, downtown and several other areas.
Although the trip was requested by Guntersville officials, it will serve as a learning experience for both cities, Link Chief Executive Officer Joe Higgins explained.
“(Cook) used to run the chamber of commerce in Arab, Ala., which is right next to Guntersville, so a lot of people up there kept up with her when she moved here,” Higgins said. “The vision is that the community she moved to is really successful, so I think they want to come see how we did it.
“But I”m not saying we are just so great and we know everything about developing a city. We definitely don”t have a holier-than-thou attitude,” Higgins added. “There is a lot we could learn from them, too. They have all kinds of resorts and restaurants around their lake, and I think we could really learn from that.”
Although the visit dates have not yet been solidified, Higgins said the group will arrive in Columbus in mid-July and tour the area for a day and a half.
While here, Guntersville officials specifically will be looking for ways to improve their downtown area and fill their industrial park, Higgins said. During the visit, the group likely will tour downtown, the Golden Triangle Industrial Park, the Riverwalk and other areas of Lowndes County.
“Most of their downtown buildings are about the same as ours, but not a lot of theirs are filled,” Cook said. “They also have an industrial park that they spent a lot of money on that they are trying to fill.”