Change is a constant.
Challenge is forever.
Chance is an option.
Northwest Indiana stands on the threshold of positive change. The winds of change are clearly at work as we enter 2014. Many a progressive program is at work here.
The question is will the region meet the obvious challenges or consider easier options and slide into complacency?
Statesman Patrick Henry said, “I know of no way of judging the future but by the past.”
Judging from past experience, Northwest Indiana is apt to see little change toward meeting our challenges.
Too much waffling. Too little positive action.
With this in mind, The Times has adopted its 2014 agenda of issues we believe vital to regional progress. During the year we actively promote change necessary to meet the challenges. We monitor progress. We put a white hot spotlight on areas of difficulty.
Pushing the region to a new level of accomplishment isn’t easy. Many people point with pride to progress that has been made. Privatization of the Gary/Chicago International Airport, commitment to build the Illiana Expressway, funding a new building for Indiana University Northwest and Ivy Tech Community College, the $4.2 billion investment made by BP in Whiting. There is much to crow about.
Even so, the road to the future contains many issues yet to be met.
Ben Franklin put it this way, “It is easy to see. Hard to foresee.”
So, looking ahead, we offer an agenda we believe will help move the region in the right and positive direction.
Our agenda is short and we believe to the point. The prioritized issues are:
- Build a healthy transportation infrastructure. Expand the South Shore, build the Illiana Expressway, establish a truly regional bus system.
- Guarantee funding for the future of the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority. It is the best bet to spur regional growth.
- Fully implement the Marquette Plan to protect our valuable Lake Michigan shoreline while attracting appropriate development there.
- Improve the health of region residents by providing easier access to health care.
- Revitalize the urban core.
- Improve education, particularly through establishment of mandated preschool.
- Restructure county government, taking it from the horse and buggy era to the 21st century.
- Improve regional cooperation.
We believe the last of the agenda items will be the most important to achieving the other objectives.
And so, while we bask in the warm light of recent accomplishment, the major issues have yet to be fully addressed.
In closing, keep in mind we all should be concerned about the future because we will have to spend the rest of our lives there.