Columbus chosen as community of the year by Indiana Chamber

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is honoring Columbus as its 2022 Cummins Community of the Year.

“Columbus possesses the rural feel of a small, Midwestern community along with the talent, innovation and culture typically found in large cities. The mix is dynamite,” says Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar.

The honor was announced Monday afternoon with a ceremony at Columbus City Hall.

According to the state group, Columbus was selected earlier this summer after a thorough review of all cities under consideration. Those nominations came from the communities themselves or through individuals recognizing an area’s progress and commitment to its businesses and citizens. They were then reviewed by a five-person Indiana Chamber panel.

Columbus-based Cummins Inc. signed on to be the award’s title sponsor a week ago,  after learning of Columbus’ recognition.

Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop  said Columbus leaders want to be the best community of our size in the country. “While different people may define it differently, everybody understands that what we’re after here is excellence,” Lienhoop said.

Lienhoop said the honor validates that efforts are having the intended impact.

The chamber praised the city’s business climate, philanthropic spirit, exceptional workforce, magnificent architecture and quality of life, saying the Columbus achievements illustrate what a thriving place is.

The Chamber also praised Columbus various improvement initiatives including:

Renovating the former Fair Oaks Mall into NexusPark.

Columbus Propeller, an innovation center and “makerspace,” launched last fall.

Velocities, the $2.5 million partnership between the Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce, The Mill in Bloomington and Elevate Ventures.

Columbus was one of the first community of the year recipients from the Indiana Chamber, back in 1992.

The formal presentation will come at the Indiana Chamber’s 33rd Annual Awards program, presented by Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield, November 16 at the Indiana Convention Center. A table of 10 in the Columbus Community of the Year section is $1,650 and individual tickets are $165 each. You can get more information at

Photo: Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop shakes hands with Kevin Brinegar, head of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Photo courtesy of Indiana Chamber.