For people good at it (not me), chess revolves around planning ahead. You don’t merely react to the previous move and work to avoid having your pieces captured, but methodically position pieces, sacrificing some to create situations moving toward the ultimate goal: getting the opposing king.
The Town of Garner moved around a lot of pieces in 2013. And it seems poised to capture the king that eludes some towns: amenity-adding and tax base-expanding commercial growth.
So, like last year, I present an arbitrary number of the year’s biggest stories in countdown form. Unlike last year I’ve been reporting on Garner for the whole year, so I can’t blame any oversights in the list on previous Garner beat-writer Sarah Nagem. I’ll work on cooking up another scapegoat.
So let’s get to it:
Of course, non-combustible elections are probably a good thing for literally everyone but me. Signs of at least competent and civil government, they indicate a population content enough with leadership not to be irate. Oh, and Gra Singleton and Kathy Behringer survived well-respected challenger Jeanette Hagwood with the most polite stiff-arms in human history.
Of course it’s a chicken or the egg problem: by planning and protecting the Orange Route for decades NCDOT essentially chose a route at a point where the Feds didn’t want a choice made. Garner has shifted from opposing said study to requesting NCDOT to rip the band-aid off as quickly as possible. (The band-aid will take about two-years to rip off.)
I had never heard of this award until learning of Garner’s application. But given the grassroots effort to fund the travel (thousands in donations materialized rapidly) the town managed to sell the community on the effort. The residential and business community seem quite keen on building up the town’s reputation.
Garner had largely been left out of previous bonds – and almost was again. An early version took out the two renovations. But Town Council and Garner’s resident school board member John Tedesco pitched a fit, and the projects returned to the list.
The town, which has credit rating agencies praising its fiscal standing, will invest the money in a new recreation center, police station, town hall, various road and sidewalk improvements, downtown investment, and other projects. They will come with a 2.75-cent property tax increase.
The biggest element: the announcement of outdoor gear superstore Cabela’s plans to build its first store in the state right at U.S. 70 and I-40. Developer Richard Barta said Cabela’s would “absolutely be on the list (of the five best anchors for a development) and probably top-two.” About $80 million in retail, restaurant and hotel space (a seven-story Drury Inn) will be installed on the north side of U.S. 70 near Jones Sausage Road. That work in 2014 will coincide with the already-initiated move of another chess piece: the road work at the confluence of I-40, U.S. 70, and White Oak Road.
And sometimes the little stories, the ones that don’t directly impact lives but merely influence them, deserve more credit than given. Charlie Reisbeck got his Make-A-Wish trip to the Galapagos. Hunter Lesslie became a special king of Garner High. Community of Hope launched a new jobs program. Joey Johnson survived what should have been a deadly wreck and gained perspective after the community stepped up to help his family out. Cases like these prove that life may seem to call check, but as long as you’re still breathing, it hasn’t called check-mate.
Happy New Year.