WORD ON THE STREET: Looking forward to new challenges of 2010

It’s a new year and I am really looking forward to the challenges and possibilities I know 2010 will bring.

We have three new board members: Jeremy Annillo of Sorci’s Italian Café and Enoteca, Dr. Laura VanDyk of the Edlund Dental Group and Eric Kantor with Nicholson and Associates Insurance. I know each of them well enough to know they will be great as board members because they’ve been great Sumner Downtown Association members and volunteers. Plus, it’s that time of year when we set goals and make work plans for our organization as a whole. It’s like a clean slate, so to speak.

Let’s not forget our first event of the year, the fifth annual Sweetheart Wine Walk from 4 to 8 p.m. Feb. 13. I’m already getting calls and we haven’t even got the posters and ads out yet. How great is that?

There will also be a changing of the guard at Sumner City Hall this month as John Doan prepares to leave as city administrator. While I am happy for him to meet his new challenges in Tumwater as their city administrator, I will miss giving him a bad time on a regular basis. And though John has been fun to work with, I trust that the city will hire an administrator with a different set of skills that will lead our city on a new journey of downtown revitalization and economic development. And that is truly something I can get excited about.

Then there’s the fact that as I write this column, I am sitting in a lodge in Vermont in front of a big stone fireplace enjoying the last two days of my vacation. I decided this year to combine my dream of a New England, horse-drawn sleigh ride with a trip to the Green Mountain Coffee corporate headquarters in Waterbury. The coffee roasting plant is huge and reminds me of the REI distribution center in Sumner with all the conveyor belts, packing and boxing stations, and dozens of huge garage doors for trucks to deliver or pick up product.

But what I really enjoyed was the visitor’s center Green Mountain co-sponsors at the historic train depot with Amtrak and Revitalize Waterbury, their version of our SDA. It is great to “walk through” other successful public-private partnership ventures and see the possibilities. There’s a quaint little café that serves Green Mountain Coffee (go figure) and pastries from a local bakery, plus a section of displays and photos about the reconstruction of the train depot, history on the town of Waterbury, and of course, a little history on the growth of Green Mountain. Plus, there’s a local gentleman who arrives at 9:30 every morning and evening to accommodate passengers at the station for Amtra-k. It’s cute, useful to the community for tourism, useful for Green Mountain for branding, and my favorite attribute, sustainable.

So as we start this new year, a big welcome to Jeremy, Laura and Eric, a smiling thank you to Green Mountain for their New England hospitality, and a sincere and heartfelt farewell to John Doan.

I will miss you, but am really glad you decided to spend so many years in Sumner.