By Duncan Wilson, administrator, Town of Friday Harbor
Oooo… my head hurts.
Reading the year in review, editorials, Rants and Raves… it seems that there was nothing but depressing news this year: Water line breaks, bridge collapses, severed cables, CAO appeals, downtown leases, suspicious packages, fires and, worst of all, faulty Christmas lights.
But before you go running for the Advil, I want to assure you that 2013 was also a year of many good things in Friday Harbor. Let’s re-visit some of the better moments in 2013:
— Tourism numbers jump in town: the revenues from tourists staying in our hotels and inns jumped 16 percent over 2012, and 30 percent compared to 2011.
— Awesome 4th of July: with exception of the scary parade incident, the Fourth was a fantastic success. The weather was perfect, the crowds were large. Can there really be a better place to spend our National holiday?
— Brickworks opened: the WOW factor clearly prevailed when the doors slid open to reveal not only the beautiful craftsmanship, but the spirit of what historical preservation is all about. Congratulations.
— United Way Day of Caring: these folks were busy this year. Volunteers took on not only the Mullis Center landscaping but the painting of the Sunshine Alley restrooms as well. Thanks for giving of your time.
— Front Street upgrades: the new staircase, walkway, benches, and landscaping add a whole new look for the visitors leaving the ferry. The kiosk is a bright and attractive draw. The whole area should shine this spring.
— Sunken Park facelift: the new roof on the Gazebo, the weathervane, painting and new barbecue grills made the place look new again.
— Transportation grants: the town has received grants totaling $1.33 million from the State Transportation Improvement Board to help us rebuild Blair Avenue. New sidewalks and pavement will make this area safer for both pedestrians and vehicles.
— Mullis Street Sidewalks: just finished as we write are the sidewalks on the west side of Mullis. This project that was funded by the joint efforts of the state TIB, the Port of Friday Harbor and the town.
— The ‘Arts’ are alive: a fantastic inaugural year for the Friday Harbor Film Festival and a new IMA Museum building on the way up Spring Street.
— New downtown public works employee: I am sure all of you have seen Sarena cleaning the downtown…from painting, to pressure washing to sweeping. Her efforts helped instill pride in how we care for business in our core. Must also mention Sabrina and her great work for the parks and the spectacular hanging baskets.
— Public Works Crew: these folks are unsung heroes. Throughout the year they kept our utilities working. Three weeks ago they repaired a water main break on Spring St. As they wrapped up that evening, the wind chill was about 10 degrees.
— Weather: and while we suffer through this rain, sleet, and snow let’s not forget the spring and summer weather that gave us about 78 sunny days out of 80 during one stretch.
While these things don’t let us forget the trials of 2013, they should certainly be remembered and celebrated. Thank you to all the folks in town that support our efforts here. We appreciate you.