As 2012 draws to a close, there is a sense in Warren County that wheels which had been spinning are gradually beginning to gain traction.
The prolonged continuing drama that enveloped the fabled hotel/convention center has finally been laid to rest. The ill-fated Allegheny Center for the Arts Anchor Grant project breathed its last, though a grand jury investigation continues.
The angst over Eisenhower High School's fate has given way to definite plans for its conversion to a K-12 center, and all the talk about a civil war within the county's educational community is a memory.
We're not saying Warren County is without its problems and challenges, but at least a few things have been settled so attention can be focused on the things that remain.
So, herein, allow us to suggest a few items for us as a community of about 40,000 to work on together. There are others, of course, and more to emerge.
First, our volunteer fire departments are hurting. They are strained for funds and volunteers. May we suggested a concerted effort by the various townships and boroughs to come together, perhaps appoint a task force, to stand outside the frame and assess the deteriorating picture. These volunteers who protect our lives and property need our help. As population has declined and revenue with it, increased cooperation among the departments for not just turning out in emergencies, but for funding and recruitment, should be examined.
We would ask City Council to either spend the money to fix the Clark Street Garage in such a manner that it can be used efficiently and pay for its own existence or declare it surplus property and cut its losses.
The intersection of Liberty Street and Pennsylvania Avenue isn't just a hassle for commuters in the morning and evening; it is a pedestrian hazard. Find the money and restore the signal before someone gets seriously hurt.
And, here's one for all of us: For all of our blemishes, for all of our disagreements, Warren County is still a pretty great place to live. We have survived and even flourished through far more desperate circumstances than these. We can make the coming year one of progress and hope if we work together rather than against each other.