Looking forward to the future

Published 5:00 pm Thursday, February 13, 2020

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Last week, LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton gave his annual state of the city address.

Like most state of the cities, Thornton’s speech focused a great deal on some of the exciting things that have happened in LaGrange over the past year, as well as things that are under development.

He talked about Southbend Park and how it and the Thread are being used by different sectors of our community.

He talked about public safety — rightfully calling it the “first and principal responsibility of local government.”

And, of course, he touched on tourism, with the city creating the Convention and Visitors Bureau to direct funding throughout the past year.

Thornton said people around the state want to know how we’re doing it here. And we’re sure at this point, some of our readers will roll their eyes in disgust, pointing to a lack of shopping and chain restaurants.

But the grass isn’t always greener.

LaGrange has had numerous businesses open here in the last few years, and if you don’t believe us, we’d love to show you a long list of ribbon cuttings we’ve run back and forth to over the past 36 months or so.

Other cities of 30,000 population dream about some of the amenities — such as the previously mentioned parks — available here.

“The City of LaGrange is doing well financially,” Thornton said. “We have been on a multi-year year path of sustainable growth, and we haven’t seen that slow down. People ask me, as I go around the state, how are y’all doing so well?”

But, the most interesting part about Thornton’s speech wasn’t what’s already happened. It’s when he turned toward the future. It’s clear that he knows the city doesn’t continue its current trajectory by sitting on its hands.

“What sustainable growth gives us the ability to do, it gives us resources … it gives us resources that provides us opportunities to make investments. To do things to enhance the quality of life in LaGrange,” Thornton said. “To enhance the amenities of our community, to enhance our safety, to enhance the things that we all love about LaGrange.”

The wherewithal to look forward is a large part of the reason LaGrange continues to see a bump in population every few years. City leaders and other community partners, such as the Callaway Foundation, also deserve a lot of credit for all of the positives over the last year that Thornton mentioned.

We’re excited to see what the future holds.