Goshen News, Goshen, IN

March 14, 2013

A discussion on city's future will be positive


— We know a good idea when we hear it, and this week we heard the Community Relations Commission is proposing city residents look ahead and envision what the community will be like in 2025.

Why 2025? Well, probably for no other reason than it will take a couple of years to get this process under way and completed and then that date will be about 10 years out. That’s close enough to be able to get a handle on what the trends are and far enough along to plan for those changes.

The focus of the community discussion will likely be centered on people — who our future residents will be — their ethnicity, their incomes, their likes and cultures and how all that mixes into our growing diversity.

Goshen’s history for most of its existence was one of being an insulated city of middle class people of European descent. In the 1990s that profile began to change as Hispanics relocated here from Mexico and Central America, Puerto Rico and from the American Southwest. Also, with the breakup of the Soviet Union, immigration by Ukrainians to Goshen increased. People from many other lands have also settled here and many languages are now spoken in the city.

Still, according to 2011 U.S. Census data, the community is mostly made up of the traditional white European descendants. They make up 66.6 percent of the 31,934 residents. Hispanics make up 28.1 percent of the population. The 2011 census update also found about a quarter of the city’s residents speak a language that is not English.

These cold statistics really don’t tell us much about the people living in the city and what their hopes and dreams are. We anticipate the future CRC discussion will seek those out so as a community we can quantify how families see themselves contributing to our greater good and how in turn they expect the community to embrace them and their dreams.

This proposed discussion and fact finding will be a positive development for Goshen residents. We anticipate learning much about our residents during this process, as well as the what the challenges and changes will be in 2025. Having this information in hand means our school staffs, hospital administrators, retailers and manufactures will be able to plan better, thus stay on top of coming changes and trends.

But the best reason to do this evaluation is to simply take a look at who the people of Goshen, Indiana really are, what their family culture is, why they live here and what kind of community they want to be a part of in 2025.