An excellent leader column in today's Echo, and well worth repeating here...
THESE are exciting times for Darlington. Only last week £200m redevelopment plans for a 70-acre site between Haughton Road and Yarm Road were revealed.
Work is also proceeding on a major £100m shopping and entertainment complex in the town centre.
And the UK's largest eco-village is due to be built on a former paint factory at the Lingfield Point Business Park.
Before all these we have had the Pedestrian Heart.
The £7m town centre redevelopment project has been dogged by criticism and bad luck ever since it was given the go-ahead two years ago.
Critics said the plan to create a shopping environment fit for the 21st Century would only do so at the expense of the old split level town centre's character.
In January last year, workers struck a 100-year-old gas main which had to be re-routed delaying the project and adding substantially to the cost. Further delays followed.
All was forgotten at the weekend when the new-look town centre was officially declared open. And what a town centre.
With its cascading waterfall, sensory lights, wide open spaces and smart wooden benches the Pedestrian Heart Darlington looks like a town that means business.
Of course, some people still won't like it. Whatever you think, it is pointless looking back - we must move forward towards a brighter future.
Darlington has to compete regionally and sub-regionally as a modern shopping destination. Now, thanks to the Pedestrian Heart, it stands favourable comparison with any rival. The town truly has a spring in its step once more - and one not merely consisting of the Pedestrian Heart's water feature.