The town of St. John has been deemed the richest town in Northwest Indiana and the richest in the state, of those communities with a population less than 25,000. Given those accolades, St. John Town Council President Michael Forbes gives a progress report on this growing, upcoming community.
Question: St. John was deemed the richest town in Northwest Indiana and richest in state, of those communities with a population less 25,000, according to the state of Indiana report issued this year. Keeping that in mind, where do you see your town headed in the coming future? Do you see the town increasing in population? Is there plenty of room for growth? What are you doing to see that growth, including business and residential increases?
Answer: The town receives many acknowledgements for what we accomplish I don't believe we need to make changes to keep or seek those acknowledgements. That being said, I would like to think we will keep doing what we have always done. working to keep St. John a bedroom community. I would expect our community to continue its growth. I believe there are approximately 7,000 acres of land that could become part of St. John before we run into geographical or bordering community issues. Not saying all of the area will definitely be part of St. John but it could be. I have been working for several year to grow our commercial base in St. John and I believe we are on the cusp of seeing a significant increase in that area. This in turn will cause the residential growth to continue on its current path. I have worked to bring in businesses that serve the town's residents and not to create a shopping destination that exists in other communities.
Question: To what do you attribute your town's success and recognition? Is a new influx of Illinois residents, who have discovered Indiana, partly the reason?
Answer: The town's successes are because of the fiscal responsiveness of the Town Council and the hard, caring work of all the staff in each department. The Town Council has always made the hard choices and not the political ones. Balanced budgets, no tax anticipation warrants and again a hard-working staff throughout the Town has made St. John a place that people desire to live wherever they come from.
Question: Your community also has a population that is highly educated. What steps, if any, will officials take to make sure continued education continues to be stressed? Any thoughts about adding more high schools since Lake Central is so huge?
Answer: This is the responsibility of the Lake Central and Hanover school districts, and that is where I will leave it.
Question: Every community has its issues. What does St. John still need to work on, and what short- or long-range plans have you instituted?
Answer: Growth and being so close to the state border brings many problems. Growth in other communities affects us as far as traffic, and that has an effect on our safety crews. We work to keep our safety personnel staffed properly to ensure the protection of the residents. This includes public works, police and fire departments.
Question: CNN also named St. John one of the best places in the United States to live back in 2009. What's being done to make sure St. John continues to be liveable and attractive?
Answer: Focus on commercial growth has been primary lately. I would like to continue the expansion of bike trails within the town.