The Columbus Casino Breaks Ground

Yesterday the Columbus casino — which was approved by Ohio voters via a constitutional amendment in 2009 — broke ground.  Given the amount of rain we’ve had here lately, the assembled crowd of hard-hatted dignitaries probably didn’t need a shovel so much as a row boat.

The building of the casino at the western edge of the city’s metropolitan area has been delayed due to a long-running dispute between the city of Columbus and the casino developers about annexation and water and sewer rights.  Although the groundbreaking ceremony has occurred, it’s not clear how much progress can be made because many of the disputes remain unresolved.  There is a welter of litigation between various parties about various issues that is still to be resolved.

The delay is frustrating for many people on the west side, who look upon the casino as a chance to revitalize the area and provide some much-needed jobs.  I’m sure there are many west-siders who are hoping that yesterday’s ceremony means that the jobs, jobs, jobs that were the principal selling point for the 2009 constitutional amendment are not far away.

VRBO Changes The World

Lately we have started to use a website called VRBO whenever we are thinking of taking a vacation and want to check out the rental properties at our destination.  If you are planning a holiday, or just want to do some dreaming, take a look at the VRBO website, click on a location or two, and see what your vacation dollar could obtain.

VRBO (short for Vacation Rentals By Owner) is one of those internet ideas — like eBay or Facebook — that is changing the world.  It is a mechanism for vacation rental property owners to list their properties and for soon-to-be travellers to find rental options.  The internet, through the VRBO website, serves as their giant meeting place.  VRBO is ridiculously easy to use:  click on the maps to indicate where you want to go, click on the listings for the properties at your destination, look at the pictures, and read the comments from prior renters.  And then, if it looks good, contact the owner and reach an agreement on date and price.  No need to rely on word of mouth.  No need to look through ads in the local newspaper.  No need to try to find a realtor who can tell you about rental properties.

VRBO puts lots of information at your fingertips and then gets out of the way to allow you to make your own judgments.  It is that access to information, and then the direct access to the property owner, that is the game-changer.  If, like us, there are times when you would like to stay in a non-touristy area so that you get a better sense of what the local culture is like, VRBO allows you to do it.  If you want to see whether renting is cheaper than a hotel room, VRBO allows you to do it.

It’s become part of our standard vacation planning routine.