Several positive signals were evident at Tiffin City Council's meeting Monday. One speaks well of the present and recent past. The others point to the potential for progress ahead.
The nearly $2.4 million General Fund balance carried into the new year is remarkable, considering how much the city lost in reductions in local government funding, personal property tax and elimination of estate taxes.
Even more remarkable, a strategic planning document from March 2010 is not just gathering dust like so many predecessors. Pursuit of a multipurpose trail, initially to connect the city center to Heidelberg University and Hedges-Boyer Park, and a streetscape project from the downtown to Heidelberg are proof the second phase of a Strategic Downtown Planning Initiative hasn't been shelved.
"Connectivity of this urban core with the university area is crucial to the downtown and needs to be enhanced," the plan states.
"Downtown Tiffin is poised to thrive from the enhanced connectivity between the college-university campuses that will call for diversity of uses and retail offerings. Physical linkages such as streetscape, trails, bikeways and green space promote alternative transportation to connect downtown and the universities."
To be sure, multi-use trails and streetscape projects are just one facet of the initiative. This isn't as simple as "pave it, and growth will come." There are other, significant components of the plan - park and green space downtown is one. Most require private investment as well as buy-in by the public.
But these proposals would be a start, and by trying we stand a better chance of succeeding.