As we’ve already discussed, 2011 was quite an eventful year for Foster-Powell. There was no shortage of news or stories, and more and more people seemed genuinely proud of and excited about their neighborhood. We even witnessed that pride and excitement spill over into Mt. Scott-Arleta, where folks not only share Foster Road with us, but similar challenges and hopes for the community, too.
When we track viewership numbers, it’s evident that people flocked to the blog when anything newsworthy was happening along Foster Road, weather that be a new bar setting up shop or rumors of New Seasons scouring the neighborhood for a potential new site. But what was most encouraging was that, aside from the spike in views that correlated with specific news and developments, this blog continued to see growth week after week, and month after month. And if numbers weren’t the main indicator, the number of people leaving comments and engaging with each other was. It’s been nice to see, and will surely keep us motivated to continue our efforts.
As the new year begins, we’ll take one quick look back into year 2011, and then reposition ourselves as we move forward. To recap on our most compelling stories of the past year, it was clear from the results of our poll that Nick Storie’s purchase of the Bob White Theatre excited you all the most. Of those that responded, 39% felt that the theater’s purchase and eventual renovation was 2011’s most compelling story. But what we don’t know is what made this story more compelling: the prospects of going to a movie or play on Foster, or to see an old, vacant building restored and finally put to use. I’ll place my bet on the former, although I doubt they’re mutually exclusive of each other.
As exciting as a theater may be, many of you (29%) felt that Foster Road’s momentum toward getting its streetscape plan implemented was just as compelling. And for good reason. Safety is a major concern along the “Foster Freeway,” and until the city makes it accessible to pedestrians, our efforts to improve the commercial corridor will continue to be an uphill battle. The combination of Regional Flexible Funds from Metro, as well as guarantees from PDC, put us $3.25 million closer to ending this battle. And if the streetscape plan can throw in some street trees, public art, and more storefront improvements, too, the future is quite bright for Foster.
Rounding out the list, the remaining votes were pretty equally distributed between Gemini Lounge’s opening in the fall, the Wikman Building being turned over to a coalition of community groups, the food carts on Foster, and the continued success of National Night Out. While others could have made the list, it’s time to look toward 2012 and how we can build on such a fruitful year.
In the coming year, we challenge you all to support local businesses, get to know your neighbors more, and participate in community-building activities, such as the Foster Garden Tour, Fun on Foster, National Night Out, or even a neighborhood association meeting. We have a good thing going here, and it’s all of you that make it great. Thanks for letting us be part of it. Happy New Year!