In the midst of the holiday season and with 2019 coming to a close, it is once again the time of year when we reflect on what it is we are so grateful for and acknowledge how far we have come.

This year, in particular, I find myself filled with gratitude and excitement for what Whitehall as a city has accomplished -- and for what is on the horizon.

In 2019, we made major strides in the realms of development and community building.

Just this year, Norton Crossing, the highly anticipated mixed-use development at the southwest corner of Broad Street and Hamilton Road, has made immense progress.

In 2020, 360 residential units will be available for young professionals and empty nesters, complete with a public park, and a central Ohio favorite restaurant, Old Bag of Nails.

With the growth of residential and retail comes the growth of business. The presence of major organizations has grown with the recent announcement of the Buckeye Ranch's relocation to Whitehall, set for early 2020.

The addition of the Buckeye Ranch to our community will bring 270 employees, $13.5 million in payroll and exceptional local resources.

Above all, it seems as though this year brought our community together more than ever before. With the newly opened Whitehall Community Park YMCA, the progress being made on the Whitehall dog park, and with the revitalization of Whitehall Community Park and restoration and naturalization of the Big Walnut tributary, there have never been so many family-friendly, community-enhancing activities in our city.

There are so many new ways to get active, get involved and have fun with friends, family and neighbors within Whitehall.

The desire to connect and the strength of our community have never been as evident as they were through the record-breaking attendance of more than 25,000 guests at this year's Whitehall Food Truck and Fun Fest.

The event featured a performance from Grammy-nominated country-music star Lee Brice and placed Whitehall in central Ohio's spotlight, attracting visitors from all over the state.

With such a strong response, we hope to provide the same level of excitement and entertainment for 2020's Food Truck and Fun Fest with just as many attendees, if not more.

Our residents can enjoy so many of the wonderful recreation and amenities the city has to offer without worry when it is clear our local police and fire departments are determined to keep our residents safe.

With the implementation of the Safer Whitehall initiative, violent crime in Whitehall has decreased by 31%, robberies have decreased by 47% and burglaries have decreased by 41%.

Whitehall has developed one of the most successful narcotic units in central Ohio, and through the implementation of the Division of Fire's S.A.F.E. Station program -- Stopping Addiction for Everyone, the first of its kind in Ohio -- more than 400 patients have been transported.

Of these, half completed detox, some length of residential stay ranging from seven to 28 days, and have been linked to sober living, recovery housing or another agency where they completed intensive outpatient treatment for their addiction and recovery.

It has been an incredible year in Whitehall, and the momentum continues to build into the new year.

I am filled with pride and joy at our city's accomplishments this year and continue to revel in what is to come.

But the most exciting thing is, with all that we have done together, this is still only the beginning.

Kim Maggard is mayor of Whitehall.