The stark challenges of Northwest Indiana's urban core are impossible to gloss over.
But Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. showed the importance of celebrating hard-fought successes in his State of the City address before the Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce last week.
We haven't always agreed with the mayor, but make no mistake. He's a tireless leader seeking constant innovative governance for the population he was elected to serve.
During his speech Wednesday, McDermott highlighted how the city's failed bid to land a corporate headquarters for online retail giant, Amazon, primed the pumps for potential development even if the initial bid was unsuccessful.
Last month, the mayor revealed developers, drawn to the city by the Amazon bid, are considering a $200 million tech project at the old State Line Generating Plant on the lakeshore.
That company hasn't been publicly identified, but it's a ray of hope for Hammond and our urban core's future.
McDermott's State of the City address also carried a message of preserving and growing the assets of the present.
He gave a nod to longtime city retailer Carson's. Acknowledging that a major city sportsplex is taking away parking from the Indianapolis Boulevard department store, he said he believed Carson's "will always be a part of Hammond."
It's a classic example of new opportunity blending with existing assets. The planned youth sportsplex represents a $20 million investment in Hammond and a major economic and sports tourism opportunity for our Region.
During his address, McDermott rattled off a robust list of other economic development initiatives with real, not imagined, traction, including the city's role in the South Shore Line commuter rail expansion project.
It took vision, and the driving enthusiasm of dedicated leadership, to make all of these things happen for a city constantly seeking to find a new way forward in struggling economic realities.
Leaders looking for ways to cheer on their municipalities should check the tape of McDermott's State of the City address.