In 2019, central Ohio continues to grow at an extraordinary rate.

Arguably, there has never been a better time to live here. With constant development and new opportunities, it is no wonder so many people are moving here from all around the country.

The increase to our region's population demands the presence of more housing in Whitehall. In the city of Whitehall, it is my belief that housing should be accessible to all as well as realistically attained.

Affordable housing is at the forefront of our minds when it comes to approaching local development opportunities. With the vision of adding 1,500 housing units over the next decade and a goal of 25% of those units dedicated to affordable and workforce housing, it is clear that affordable housing is the way to sustain the success of the city.

We aim to ensure that community members are able to feel secure in their ability to work, play and live in Whitehall.

Over the past few years, Whitehall has actively supported the construction of more than 200 affordable housing units at Eastway Village, Hamilton Crossing and the Ashford on Broad.

In 2019, the city partnered with Homeport to facilitate and create an additional 140 units of senior affordable and workforce housing on Etna Road.

This will continue to be an essential mission for our city. As we look to redevelop the former Woodcliff Condominiums site, our team is working to ensure that new workforce housing will play an important role in the redevelopment.

My pride for Whitehall has always been unwavering, and my excitement for what is to come through the city's development is unparalleled.

We are at a moment of great opportunity for our city, and I am honored to lead the charge in the right direction.

Whitehall is made up of so many incredibly hardworking, dedicated people who mold and shape this community into what it is and what it should be.

By increasing the presence of affordable housing, we invite the possibility of more people calling Whitehall home.

Our city is diverse, it is innovative and it is truly one of a kind.

Drawing more individuals to Whitehall through accessible housing helps keep our community thriving.

In addition to securing more opportunities for affordable housing, our city is working to increase transportation options and access to health care and child care in an effort to reduce costs, thereby increasing discretionary income.

Residents in our community who don't have to choose between paying rent and getting to work, or paying the mortgage or getting groceries for the week, are more likely to contribute to our local economy by stopping at local restaurants and visiting local stores. This is what allows Whitehall to thrive.

A step toward a more affordable Whitehall is a step in the right direction.

Kim Maggard is mayor of Whitehall.