In case you didn’t know, we’re doing alright here in our little neck of the woods. Colorado was named the 10th best state by U.S. News & World Report for the second year in a row, taking the No. 1 spot for economy and the No. 8 spot for infrastructure. It doesn’t take a economist or civil engineer, though, to see our state’s future is bright.

I know there are days when it doesn’t feel like we’re doing so hot. Maybe you’re frustrated at the state of our roads or the traffic on your daily commute. Perhaps you aren’t on board with legalizing recreational marijuana or decriminalizing psychedelic mushrooms, as Denver did this month. Maybe there’s been crime in your neighborhood or your heart is breaking at the latest teen suicide or the state of our mental health resources — or lack thereof. Those frustrations are real and valid. Praise in one arena doesn’t mean our work is done. Far from it, in fact. I know we can continue to make our neighborhoods, schools, cities and state stronger and safer.

Here’s a little secret: I think the northern Colorado Springs community is a small but mighty reason our state is so great. Unbeatable scenery in our backyard, rich history, kind and generous neighbors, incredible schools, driven athletes and community leaders — I could go on, but you already know.

Just this year we’ve published stories on people, places and events that make our neighborhoods great.

In January, we profiled the life and career of Richard “Dick” Eckenrode, a northern Colorado Springs resident who had a lifetime of working with the earliest pioneers in the space industry at NASA. Dick’s stories were inspirational, to say the least, as our city ventures into a new frontier as the potential home of U.S. Space Command.

In March, we highlighted the opening of the new YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region branch in Briargate. The $6.5 million facility in the First & Main Town Center is a welcome development for northeast Colorado Springs residents who want more options for staying active and connected.

This month, we shared a story about the Falcon Wanderers Club, which celebrated its 38th anniversary with a free community walk on the U.S. Air Force Academy, open to all ages and abilities. For nearly four decades, this group has brought together residents from across northern neighborhoods to enjoy the beauty of our region.

These stories are just the tip of the iceberg. From trail building to new businesses opening, there is activity, growth and community development happening all around us in our city.

There has been quite a lot of change in our neighborhoods over the past decade. Change is hard — new faces can mean more competition and congestion — but one thing I’m sure of, I have great hope for our community’s future. I have met far too many folks who care deeply about the life and legacy the Rockrimmon, Mountain Shadows, Peregrine, Briargate and Pine Creek areas represent to let it simply die out, or even fade into the background. Call me an optimist, but I believe growth and welcoming new neighbors and ideas can absolutely coexist with the people, places, history and institutions that have called this place home for generations. And in the end, we all have something to offer each other. Let’s keep that door open to possibilities and see just how great it can make our neighborhoods, city and the state of Colorado.

Hannah Maginot has lived in the Pikes Peak region for six years and enjoys exploring the many neighborhood haunts and side streets of northern Colorado Springs. Send your feedback and column ideas to hannah.maginot@pikespeaknewspapers.com.

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