2013 lining up to be a very good year
As we close the books on 2012 and look ahead into 2013, we see a year full of promise and one that could be a watershed year for the Orange Belt.
For many of the same reasons we saw so much promise in 2012, we see 2013 as being a significant and positive year.
The stage for future success was set this year when ground was finally broken on the new South County Justice Center. That large project where the Porterville Fairgrounds once stood is rapidly beginning to stand out in the city’s modest skyline and will be a beacon drawing people to downtown for many decades to come.
Some of the fruits of that courthouse and the hundreds of people it will bring to downtown every day are already being seen, and ironically, the first signs are at the very spot where Royal Porter Putnam built the city’s very first store 151 years ago — the corner of Main Street and Oak Avenue. There, work is being done to convert the historic Palace Hotel to house a restaurant and other shops as the downtown’s revitalization takes hold. Across the street, another building is going up to house a new Subway sandwich shop, with an office on the second story.
Throughout town there is a synergy from the courthouse and the prospects for a brighter future. The widening of the Plano Bridge to four lanes will be a major undertaking, but one that will also go a long way to make downtown a destination point.
The possibility that the Sequoia National Forest may finally come up with a Giant Sequoia National Monument plan should help to move forward plans to promote that majestic part of our mountains and hopefully the promise of tourism will finally be realized.
To our north, Lindsay Unified School District being awarded one of just 16 Race to the Top grants in the nation brings not only national attention to that the community that has struggled for the past two years, but adds a dose of optimism that Lindsay has indeed turned the corner once again and is moving forward positively.
It should be an exciting year and build to a crescendo by the first of October when the courthouse opens is brand new doors.