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If not now, when?

February 19, 2018

It is often said the wheels of progress are slow to turn. This is a truth our community has come to realize. In our situation, the wheels of progress have been slower to turn than they have in nearby communities. It is also true that Terre Haute has a potential that surrounding communities should be envious of. Five institutions of higher education call Terre Haute or Vigo County home, a majority of them nationally recognized. Terre Haute's museums can compete with those of any city our size, as well as many cities much larger. A number of parks provide families or individuals opportunity for recreation.

 

Terre Haute has a unique and fascinating history worth celebrating. Max Ehrmann, Theodore Dreiser, Paul Dreiser, Burl Ives, and Eugene Debs are only a few notable individuals who called Terre Haute "home" at one point or another. Books and journals have examined our history, as have political commentators across the ocean.

 

Our community is at a turning point, one which can be noticed in many areas throughout Terre Haute and Vigo County, including government. Over the last few years we have elected new leaders who have been thinking in new and innovative ways. We have leaders who have served for many years. Both are necessary to guide this community to a prosperous position. Experience and

new perspective can and must compliment each other in our situation.

 

I speak often of how proud I am to serve on the Terre Haute City Council. This council, in my opinion, is an example of how good government should work. We strive to listen, to be as transparent as possible, and to act in the best interest of the people of this city. Council members are often found outside of meetings performing various activities that bridge a better relationship between local government and its constituents. This is important. Good government is necessary for a community to succeed.

 

Government must support those who are working to make positive change, those who are working to turn good ideas into reality. Many entities are working toward progress. Riverscape has a vision to bring life to our river. Art Spaces is preparing "Turn to the River," a project that will connect downtown Terre Haute to the river through public art. The Vigo County Historical Society is preparing to move to a new, more visible location. This move will add more to a downtown area that has been becoming more lively over the last few years. The Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Terre Haute have not only brought business to the downtown area, but have worked to make "First Friday" a monthly event many look forward to. Launch Terre Haute is working hard in downtown Terre Haute to help those innovators and entrepreneurs who wish to establish businesses of their own.

 

Now is a time of change for our city, a time in which we have an opportunity to thrive. However, we must have a plan in place. We need a vision. If we do not look toward the future now, we may not have the opportunity to ever reach the potential we have at this moment.

 

Does this vision come from one person among us, or does it come from an entity comprised of numerous individuals and organizations? I am not sure. We certainly have a number of both individuals and organizations who are bettering our community every day. They continue their labor of moving us in a positive direction amid obstacles and uncertainty.

 

The potential we have is incredible. So many pieces are in place to make this the opportune moment to change not only our perception of Terre Haute, but our own willingness to contribute to its betterment. This momentum must be seized now, as we can not afford to let it pass us by. There is opportunity for everyone to be a part of this moment, of this movement.

 

In twenty years I want to look back with my family, with my children who chose to stay in Terre Haute, and say to them that it was NOW that our city realized its potential. It was NOW that we worked to turn our ideas into reality. If we don't work hard and find a way to do this now, when will we? The wheels of progress are slow to turn, but they can move faster with an entire community pushing them from behind.

 

Curtis DeBaun IV is the current Terre Haute City Council President.

 

 

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