The year ending was one of recovery, growth, controversy, tragedy and change in Centre County.
As we move from 2013, we reflect on the moments and movements that shaped our region, and look to the year ahead.
In the past 12 months, we have watched the battle over the future of Bellefonte’s Garman Theatre and the transition of Centre Crest nursing home to a nonprofit facility. The State College Area School District’s high school project moved from dream to concept and toward a referendum vote.
The Centre County Children’s Advocacy Center became a reality. Several new student apartment complexes were built, even as the region struggled with a shortage in affordable workforce housing.
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We cheered Penn State to national championships in women’s volleyball and wrestling, and to accomplishments in academics, research and the performing arts.
We were uplifted as the Nittany Lions football team scored another winning season despite NCAA sanctions, and grew anxious as head coach Bill O’Brien again flirted with jobs in the NFL.
As Penn State saw applications jump and research dollars surge, we awaited the court dates of the university’s former leaders and charted the ongoing battle between Penn State’s board of trustees and those who still oppose decisions made two years ago.
In 2013, Centre Countians supported music and theater. They gave to local human service organizations and reached out to their neighbors in need.
But it is time to bid farewell to 2013 and look ahead to 2014.
These are some of our hopes for the region in the coming year:
• support from voters for a clearly outlined and cost-conscious State High project
• strong candidates in all political races and clean campaigns full of meaningful debate, as state and federal legislative positions and the governor’s office are up for grabs
• a lifting of the bowl ban on Penn State by the NCAA and another strong season for the Lions with O’Brien still at the helm
• work beginning to make U.S. Route 322 safer in the Potters Mills area, with plans moving forward for a four-lane highway all the way to State College
• a positive first year as a nonprofit facility for a Centre Crest nursing home, with improved care for residents and reduced costs for taxpayers
• a successful presidential search for Penn State, one that brings vision and leadership to the university and our community.
• a year without tragic falls, both accidental and intentional, in downtown State College and continued progress to reduce dangerous drinking and drug use
• Bellefonte building upon momentum for a downtown arts center, even as the Garman comes down, giving way to a needed housing project
• closure in the legal battles that still hang over Penn State and our community, and justice — whatever that should be — for those filing or battling lawsuits and facing charges related to the Jerry Sandusky scandal
• a more diverse local economy, with Penn State at its center, but with health care, manufacturing, agriculture, real estate, retail sales and other sectors gaining strength
• good fortune and health for the people of Centre County and the wisdom and strength to react to the challenges and pitfalls that certainly await
Happy new year. Here’s looking forward to a great 2014.