It’s a new year, so let’s take stock of things…
It’s a new year, so let’s take stock of things here in Worthington.
First, the basics:
City finances: revenues are exceeding budget, with healthy reserves.
Schools: levies have passed, buildings are being built.
Home values: steadily rising.
Business activity: high occupancy rates and active redevelopment.
In sum, the state of our city is solid and strong.
Beyond these fundamentals, we enjoy an enviable range of public-supported resources—our superb libraries, the McConnell Arts Center, Community Center, Griswold Senior Center, Worthington Historical Society, Farmers Market, the Village Green, and an array of parks, playgrounds and pathways. These resources provide us, if we choose, with the means of discovery, health, and the joy of life.
We also have abundant civic clubs, associations, informal groups, and places of worship that bind us together through enduring friendships and shared values.
And, let’s not forget, our City provides top-notch essential services—fire/EMS and police safety forces, snow removal, leaf pickup/composting, trash/recycling, water and sewer, and the regular maintenance of roads and pathways. These quality services help provide the safety, security, and conveniences that make Worthington an outstanding place to live.
The foundation of all this? The people of Worthington.
When my family and I moved here almost fourteen years ago, I was struck by how strangers would sometimes wave to me as we passed one another. I found this refreshing.
Since then, my early impression has been positively confirmed. Worthingtonians are, by and large, generous, unpretentious, fair-minded, curious, creative, and full of valuable life experiences. I see us as both aspirational and pragmatic, believing we can make the world, or at least our city, a better place for all.
For these reasons I am optimistic as Worthington heads into 2023. Do challenges exist? Most certainly.
A short list includes: aging infrastructure, the slow pace of key redevelopment projects, the need for more (and diverse) restaurants, upgrading of our pools, sidewalks, insufficient sports fields, and the multiplying deer. These issues, each important and complex, may nonetheless be thought of as typical and manageable by a prosperous, historic, inner-ring suburb.
Yet Worthington is not an island. Our 5.5 square mile city is increasingly impacted by regional, national, and global forces. These are not to be feared, but to be understood.
Examples include: population trends and related pressures on zoning, density, and housing; calls for greater social justice in the form of diversity and equity; and the increasing effects of climate change on our natural, social, and economic systems.
How we respond to these big agents of change is extremely important. In all cases, I believe we must guard against passivity. We are at our best when proactive.
In some cases, such as climate change, this means overcoming complacency, envisioning possibilities, leading by example. In the case of zoning and land use, it means having the mental and moral rigor to not allow outside interests, financial and otherwise, to have undue influence.
It is my belief that if we remain true to ourselves and our core values, we will best serve not only the interests of Worthington and its residents, but those of the wider world of which we are a welcome part.
I urge you to be engaged with these issues in this new year. Much is at stake in our beautiful city. Your voice, and those of your neighbors, will guide me, and my colleagues, in our efforts to serve our community. Happy new year, to one and all.
This post is also available at the Worthington Spotlight, in print and online at: https://www.worthingtonspotlight.com/articles/let-us-remain-true-to-ourselves-in-2023/