Lewistown is not “dying”

Dear Editor,
Lewistown will vote this November to decide whether or not to change from its current commission/city manager form of government to a mayoral form. I’ve heard from many people that “Lewistown is dying” and the leaders of this town “are killing Lewistown.” I politely but firmly disagree with this notion.
Elementary schools are growing, which can only mean that young families are moving back and having children. I grew up in Lewistown, as did my husband, and we decided after 10 years away that we wanted the same upbringing for our child that we had. We did not make this decision lightly; we would not have uprooted ourselves, changed jobs, and bought a home if we thought this town was dying. Neither would several of the families that I know just like mine that have done the same thing.
I hear that “nothing gets done around here.” Again, I disagree. Anyone who has driven down Main Street in the past three months can see that something has been done. New sidewalks, new LED street lamps, new traffic lights, new roads – the list goes on. That work was all funded by government programs and grants that were applied for and secured by our past city manager. Privately funded projects are being completed too – just look at all the new playgrounds around town and the brand new pool and waterslides.
However, what I hear the most is that “Main Street is empty.” Yes, maybe it is. But so what? Brick and mortar businesses are not the foundation of a healthy community. Small business is struggling everywhere, not just here. Even if the government changed, what could a mayor do that a city manager cannot? The city, despite the common conception, does not say no to businesses very often. Most often, they say yes and it ends up being another issue not in the city’s hands that delays or ends a project.
Please consider voting to keep our existing city manager form of government. Yes, Lewistown does need a change, but change does not start at the top. It starts with attitudes.
Krista Nowak
Lewistown

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