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Ask The Mayor: Columbus Lienhoop On Second Amendment Sanctuary

Jim Lienhoop, Mayor of Columbus

Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop (Joe Hren, WFIU/WTIU News)

Lienhoop begins his second term as mayor, Cummins begins layoffs, railway overpass under construction, riverfront project gets more design money, and the city takes over Otter Creek Golf Course.

On this week’s installment of Ask The Mayor, Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop addresses these issues and more. Listen to the full conversation with Indiana Newsdesk anchor Joe Hren by clicking on the play button above, or read some of the questions and answers below. A portion of this segment airs 6:45 and 8:45 a.m. Wednesday on WFIU.

This conversation has been edited for clarity and conciseness.

Hren: This is our first show with you in 2020, the end of your first term and beginning of your second term, what are your remarks to kick off the year?

Lienhoop: I was happy to be able to do this four more years. I appreciate the confidence that the voters here in Columbus have placed in me and by extension, those people we've hired to help run the city. It clearly is a job you don't do alone. I mean, we've got 430 or so full time equivalents during the summer, we hire several hundred part timers. So there's a lot to manage. And you can't do it without capable department heads and we're lucky to have those.

Mayor Jim Lienhoop
Mayor Jim Lienhoop begins his second term in Columbus. (Joe Hren, WFIU/WTIU News)

Hren: I saw in the local paper here about the Second Amendment sanctuary. And there was also a piece in the Bloomington paper as well about Lawrence County. I wanted to get your take on how this came across your desk. And then your reaction because both the county and the city did issue a statement.

Lienhoop: There was some action taken in Jennings County, not anything binding, but a statement made and a piece of paper signed by the mayor, or the sheriff and State Representative Jim Lucas. And basically, as I understand it, what they're saying is that if a superior government and superior I mean, higher in authority, the legislature or the U.S. Congress, were to pass a new law related to gun ownership that these folks think is
restrictive, they choose not to enforce it, and, so thereby become a sanctuary for the Second Amendment.

What I'll say first off is I think the Second Amendment is kind of critical to our rights. I mean, it's why we are as free as we are, I think the framers intentionally made it number two, not number 10. And and so I agree with that, but at the same time, we can't be in a position where we pick and choose, which laws we're going to enforce and which ones were not.

So got together with the county commissioners and asked them, whether their thoughts were similar to mine, and they indicated that they were so we issued a joint statement that said, we didn't really see the need to take any action here.

Hren: I hear where the city is taking over control of Otter Creek Golf Course from Cummins, how will the city accommodate management?

Lienhoop: Cummins originally funded that and gave it to the city back in 1963 or 64, but management of the course was assigned to Otter Creek Management Corporation. And the board had seven members, five of whom were appointed by Cummins. And so what Cummins decided to do is they'd like to take a step back. So they've relinquished the right to appoint those board members, and the city is going to fill the role. We've appointed a new board that took effect last Friday.

We'll have some integration issues to deal with. What that does is it leaves the city with 54 holes of golf. And our intuition tells us that that's likely too many holes. But at this point, we haven't been able to do enough research to get to the point where we know how many is too many.

Columbus Riverfront proposed design
The city is looking at how to integrate the river into downtown while preserving the environment. (City of Columbus)

Hren: It looks like the riverfront project is moving forward. There's been some appropriations from City Council and and I believe that's is that just for the design?

Lienhoop: Yeah, that's just to continue to work with the designers. We put a permit application in front of the Department of Natural Resources a couple months ago and hope to hear back from them in April. So you know, that will give us a little bit clearer look, in terms of what they will allow us to build. And we really need to know what that is before the designers can sort of kick into gear, but we wanted to have that contract in place. So we got it approved by the redevelopment Commission and the City Council. 

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