So the nationally distributed periodical, Money Magazine, chose to name one of our one central Indiana communities as the “Best Place to Live in America.” At first blush, it seems like an amazing honor – it seems pretty impressive with the second look, too. Sure, we can discount the nature of how these places are selected for the award. And, we can claim that any town could win it; but, given the many thousands of municipalities that might qualify for the distinction, only one took home the goods.
We live in a place that certainly spends money. It makes aggressive use of public-private partnerships. It waters plants and builds roundabouts. Yet, the taxes stay low and schools remain top-shelf. We have good leadership. The superintendent works tirelessly – along with the rest of the school team – to deliver the very best that resources will allow. The mayor leads and the council oversees. Each in a perfect, if at times somewhat heated, balance. This is an organism of many parts and many subroutines.
So, we, as thinking taxpayers, can ask if this national attention is worth the effort. Would it be better to eschew the spotlight and pause at four-way stops like the rest of the world? Does it paint a fair portrait of our hometown? Or, does it only further serve to alienate us from folks who might chose to use the occasion to breed even more vitriolic stereotypes? Whichever, our streets, neighborhoods and communities are feeling the warmth of the media spotlight. Does the glow enhance our strengths or point to our weaknesses? Only time will tell. Regardless, it is up to us to live the part. Work harder to keep the streets safe and clean. And, expect to share the good thing we’ve got. Are we building a reputation or resting upon one?