In many cases, what happened in 2014 should stay in 2014. But there’s one strong trend from the past year we’d like to see continue this year, and for years to come — the value being placed by our community on community spaces.
In looking back over the past year, the Clarion recently reported on the public’s use of the new space at the expanded Joyce K. Carver Soldotna Public Library. The space has been utilized by a number of community groups, and the library has activities scheduled for all ages and catering to a wide range of interests. Likewise, the Kenai library, which was expanded just a couple of years ago, has numerous community activities filling the space.
The interest in community spaces can be seen in many other places, too. Area senior centers have long been popular. Boys and Girls Clubs and teen centers see plenty of use. The new community center in Sterling has become a draw. Look around the central Kenai Peninsula, and you’ll see plenty of community interest in upgrading parks and other recreation facilities, and expanding area trails.
From parks to bike paths to trails, those spaces are getting plenty of use. Even in mid-winter, it’s common to see people using the Unity Trail or enjoying a playground. And if we ever get some more snow, area cross-country ski trails are sure to be busy.
Looking forward, our area is poised for more growth. That means more members of our community interested in using community spaces. There will inevitably be some growing pains that come with increased demand, but an active and diverse group of users is also a benefit as it means more support for community spaces.
We’re glad to see our community spaces continue to improve, and to see the number of users grow with those improvements. Good community spaces are an investment that will always pay dividends.