Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Third Ward / Year in Review

Third Ward's year-end recap is below. If you did not receive this via e-mail, subscribe to our distribution list by sending an e-mail to president@third-ward.org. Thanks!

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Good morning, I hope you are enjoying a wonderful holiday season! As we close the year, I wanted to send a final message to review the highlights of 2008 and the promise of 2009.

2008 was another memorable year in Third Ward's march forward. More young families continue to stay and grow here, even catching the attention of the Charlotte Observer in a front-page article in April. In the cycle of life, we also lost some longtime residents with the passing of Mrs. Roberts and the relocation of Tony Nimmons after decades in the neighborhood.

Personal connections have been made at our bountiful community garden, our annual Picnic in the Park, and through socials sponsored by neighborhood businesses. I thank the City Club, My Townhome, Reliant Group Properties, and Hartigan's Irish Pub for their generosity. Third Ward business participation went beyond social events, too. STV/Ralph Whitehead Associates dedicated a springtime Saturday to Irwin Creek cleanup, and Enventys offered its creative resources toward an emerging identity program for the neighborhood.

Charlotte continues to find our neighborhood as a gracious host to its best events and amenities. In October we welcomed the Komen Race for the Cure and the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, and we can't forget the Panthers at the top of the NFC South. Though we still await groundbreaking of Knights Stadium, we can view the dramatic transformation of South Tryon Street into a world-class commercial and cultural destination.

At our neighborhood meetings, we welcomed guests like Michael Smith, Phil Kline, and Chief Rodney Monroe. Chief Monroe's visit, which came just five weeks into his tenure, was our best attended meeting of the year and was even covered on the evening news.

I am very pleased with the success of our website. Since its relaunch in March, the site has attracted almost 1,500 unique visitors. Third-ward.org has been the conduit for disseminating hundreds of posts and documents to the neighborhood. Through the site and our e-mail distribution list, there is much more information about Third Ward readily at hand.

In 2009, many of us will face uncertainty in our professional lives as we experience the threat or reality of layoffs and a faltering economy. With the change of presidential administrations, one hopes that the promise of improved infrastructure will continue to offer an even better quality of life to urban neighborhoods including Third Ward. At the same time, we will be challenged to ensure that what is built enhances the beauty and variety of our neighborhood.

Regardless of our physical surroundings, 2009 should be a year when we look to grow closer to our friends and neighbors during difficult times. We will never change our hospitable attitude to greater Charlotte, but we will look to grow our own community and identity more visibly. The neighborhood association will step up its efforts to bring people together in 2009, with more outreach and more events. (You'll have the chance to provide your suggestions and feedback in a survey to be released in January - and always to me personally.) Whether through an "official" event or not, I invite you to say "hello, my name is..." to the people you see in the neighborhood.

Finally, I would like to thank the officers, board, and volunteers who have done so much for Third Ward this year, including the condominium association presidents who have been active. I would also like to recognize Keith and Amy Hall, residents who distinguish themselves through constant participation in neighborhood events and willingness to take on some unglamorous tasks - parking and neighborhood watch among them - in service of the neighborhood. Thank you very much.

Happy holidays! See you in January.

John

John Schwaller
President
Third Ward Neighborhood Association
third-ward.org