As we prepare to close the book on 2012, it’s worth a brief look to see how we did at predicting what the year had in store for Gig Harbor and the Key Peninsula.
It turns out we were pretty close to the mark on most things when it came to gazing into our metaphorical crystal ball at about this time last year.
Not that it was any great feat of prognostication wizardry, but we were right about the Tacoma Narrows Bridge tolls going up.
Other successes: Voters did approve the Peninsula School District’s replacement levy in February, the city’s Point Fosdick to 56th Street NW project did cause traffic problems, Key Center did continue to expand with new tenants in the shopping center near the Food Market (Subway, Closer to Home Espresso), and the Gig Harbor Film Festival did bring in another Hollywood star in the person of Gig Harbor’s own Josh Lucas.
We didn’t hazard a guess in print about the Mayan calendar and the suggested end of the world on Dec. 21, 2012, but we were fairly confident there would be no such cataclysm. Thankfully, we were right.
We would be remiss, however, if we didn’t also acknowledge where we were wrong.
We cited the fragile state of the economy and predicted a Republican would win the highest political office in the land this year. Not so much. President Obama was re-elected and earned another four years in the White House.
As the old saying goes: Nobody’s perfect.
But enough about the past and the present, let’s get to some forecasts for 2013:
• We’re not exactly going out on a limb here, as there’s already been plenty said and written about the start of another toll-setting process next year, but look for increased toll prices July 1 when it comes to crossing the eastbound span of the Narrows Bridge.
The simple, albeit financially painful, fact of the matter is: The bridge bonds were structured for payments to increase over time. Traffic numbers and revenues haven’t met projections, so there’s not really a way for bridge commuters to avoid another hit to their wallets.
Look for an increase of at least a dollar on each of the various payment methods: Good to Go! users, toll booth users and those who pay by mail.
• If this year was any indication — and we’d like to think it is — look for economic development to continue in Gig Harbor next year.
The signs were everywhere this year: The city set a record for single-family building permits. Several new businesses — including Kohl’s and Marshalls — opened in Gig Harbor. Rush Residential announced plans to build 82 homes in Harbor Crossing.
St. Anthony Hospital, Costco and a YMCA also are draws to the city, as are its various employment opportunities.
We think 2013 will continue the trend of an improving economy in Gig Harbor.
• That brings us to Gig Harbor’s “Vision Statement,” which was adopted by the city council on Dec. 10. The statement highlights plans for the residential and commercial areas around the bay from City Park at Crescent Creek to the old Ferry Landing.
Given the process has gone fairly smoothly so far — more than 80 people were interviewed, two town hall meetings attended by more than 180 people were held to solicit public input, and Vision Committee members met with various community groups — we think the city will have relatively little trouble as it incorporates the vision into the city’s Comprehensive Plan. It also will work to develop implementation policies as part of next year’s plan-amendment cycle.
• Finally, even though this doesn’t strictly apply to Gig Harbor or the Key Peninsula specifically, we admit we’re still on an adrenaline rush after the Seattle Seahawks’ shellacking of the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night — which earned the team a playoff berth — so we’re in a giddy mood.
That being said, we’re going to boldly predict the Hawks will return to the Super Bowl.
C’mon, what’s an editorial about the future without at least one longshot prediction?
And on that note, we wish you a happy New Year.