GERALD SMITH: Get involved in Indiana visioning process
September 13, 2013 10:59 AM

One of the primary reasons for my interest in Indiana Borough council is because I believe in community, and ours is shrinking.

While recent Indiana Area School District enrollment numbers are increasing, the borough itself has shrunk by 13 percent from 2000 to 2010 — mostly families and seniors. Why is no one talking about this?

Families and seniors are the glue that holds communities together. They go to work, pay taxes, attend church and community functions, serve on boards and committees, and invest in schools. They are who our kids play with, we invite over for cookouts, collect our mail when we are away and are always around to talk politics downtown or in our driveway. They are a vital and often unseen part of the fabric that sustains a community and keeps it vibrant. Without them a community will decline.

In a healthy community I would think that when people start packing their bags or looking for other places to settle, those of us who care about that place should pay attention. We should demand that local government study the issues by engaging residents and neighborhoods and adjust policy based on this feedback. I believe that the question is less about what makes people leave, but rather, what makes people stay.

It’s time to engage with you. During the regularly scheduled borough council work session at 7 p.m. Tuesday, we will begin to engage in a process to envision where we see our town. As a representative of our borough, I need to hear from you.

I ask that you come to the work session and be part of the conversation. Where do you see Indiana in five, 10, 20 years? What assets are we ignoring? How do we tap into our strengths?

Indiana is a unique community within the region. This in itself is an asset. Are we all that we can be? I also ask that you think positively; there are plenty of negatives to go around.

If you are unable to attend Tuesday, I encourage you to reach out to your council member this month. Contact information can be found on the borough’s website.

I also encourage you to respond in these pages of the Gazette or online. This visioning process only starts on Tuesday; I hope our community will lead the borough council into the coming years.

Gerald Smith,

Member, Indiana Borough council, 2nd Ward

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