For a while now, I’ve been writing about how Michigan City is faced with a unique redevelopment opportunity.

With a combination of resources and like-minded people in key positions within local government, the train speeding ahead toward a better Michigan City has been going full-bore.

Lately, there have been a lot of punches to the gut from a financial standpoint. Tax collection shortfalls and oddities have chopped into the city coffers, leaving government officials scratching their heads with one hand and trying to figure a way out of this mess with the other.

I believe this is a critical juncture for Michigan City and the future all of us dream about. That train is — at the very least — pumping the brakes a bit as everyone scrambles to try and figure out where the money went and how much money is available moving forward.

These kinds of issues are bound to cause dissension. When it comes to financial matters, opinons vary widely, typically, and those kinds of disagreements can cause bad blood that lasts for long periods of time.

I’ve lauded local officials for an unwavering ability to work together toward a common goal, and that simply cannot stop now. In fact, more than ever, this is a time to come together.

I’ve heard it suggested that this financial crisis should serve as a catalyst for slowing down redevelopment. Some have called for a moratorium on spending.

These are well-reasoned arguments, I suppose, but I’m on the opposite side of that particular coin.

In fact, I would say now, more than ever, is when we need to be even more agressive in trying to make Michigan City everything we hope it can be. The financial crisis might make this more difficult, granted. But the idea, of course, is to develop a town rich in business and tourism that will pump money into the local economy, therby making us less reliant on the riverboat.

Being less reliant on the riverboat is, of course, a very good thing. So I can understand why people might think it silly to — in the interim — become more reliant on it to get where we want.

“The riverboat might not always be there,” they say. I say that’s exactly the point.

We have no reason to believe Blue Chip is going anywhere, of course. It’s still doing quite well, despite increased competition from the rest of the Midwest. But, in an upcoming legislative session, it’s very possible that the admission tax that directly contributes to the city coffers could lessen or go by the wayside.

So, to me, that means the opportunity is now to do what we can to drive toward a better Michigan City. We need to strike while the anvil is hot, so to speak.

If the city doesn’t put itself in a position now to fulfill all its glorious potential, it might not ever do so, or at least the time table will be significantly altered.

Now is the time to stick together and push forward, not dissent and be left with nothing.

Contact Managing Editor Adam Parkhouse at aparkhouse@thenewsdispatch.com or 1-219-214-4170.

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