Craig Margolis - Council member

by Craig Margolis

Smart growth is not just about the proper placement of a building or design of a roadway intersection. The ultimate goal of community development is to provide multiple opportunities to shop, reach out to neighbors, engage with the community, and have fun.

When you hear the term community development, what do you think? Many would think it is the renovation of homes, new office buildings, new restaurants, and maybe even an additional jewelry store. Community building does not just happen; it requires both a conscious and conscientious effort to do something (or even many things) to improve the community or create a vision of what our community can be.  Experts have found a healthy economy means a healthy community and a healthy community means a healthy economy. Residents want to live in a place that provides opportunities and meets their individual needs and interests. Along these lines, we see the continued need for development and re-development in Montgomery.

Montgomery has become known as a small, welcoming community that provides multiple opportunities for its residents to live, dine, and work.

It is crucial for communities to remain attractive places that stimulate new economic opportunities through variations of economic cycles. Cities that are intentional in cultivating and supporting their business community have better economic and social results than those that don’t.

There are several variables of a no growth and no renewal community:

Not being attractive –  We have history, we have neighborhoods, and we have opportunities to shop and eat in unique businesses. And, we have the alluring Heritage District.

An attitude of growth is for other communities – We embrace the possibilities. Once a no-growth reputation is born, developers and business owners will take the path of least resistance. Nothing kills future growth like a bad reputation. We seize the possibilities and work with our businesses.

Asking “What has Montgomery done for me lately?” – The next generation needs a good reason not to leave. Local employment, good schools, ample opportunities for entertainment, and good, affordable, quality housing are all part of the decision-making mix. The Sycamore Community Schools are second to none. The community also offers varied dining and shopping options, and a viable housing market.

Any community not perceived to be providing a high quality of life for its residents and businesses is not likely to survive the long haul.

To help our City grow and our community development efforts progress, please be involved in your community. Consider enrolling in our Montgomery Citizens’ Leadership Academy, participating in a city-wide open house regarding a community development project, attending a City Council meeting, or even sending your Council Member an email (either positive or negative). Remove yourself from your comfort zone and walk your neighborhood, talk to a neighbor or volunteer with an organization or commission. After all, the future of our community is in your hands.