The difference a year can makePublished 4:59pm Thursday, December 29, 2011
By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor
Looking back over the front pages of the past year’s Alabaster Reporter for our annual Year in Review section can sometimes be a revealing experience.
In my mind, events that happened in January 2011 seem like they just happened a few days ago. I guess getting caught up in the hectic hustle of everyday life tends to make the time fly by, as I’m sure many of you will agree.
Looking over the city’s 2011 headlines is a great way to chronicle how much Alabaster has grown and changed from this time last year.
Right now, we are awaiting the construction of a brand new shopping center near the Colonial Promenade, which is incredible news considering the current economic state.
I can only imagine what offerings the new shopping center will bring, but I am excited to know that we will be getting some more big-box retailers close to home.
Sales tax revenues from the new shopping center will mix with those of the city’s currently existing businesses to help support the upcoming Alabaster school district, after the Alabaster City Council voted this year to break away from the Shelby County School System.
The Council recently wrapped up its collection of applications for the Alabaster school board, and I can’t wait to see what the next chapter will be in this continuing story.
2011 was also a year of great tragedy for Alabaster, as headlines about murders and sudden deaths came much too frequently. Of particular note was the tragic stabbing death of a mother and her 9-month-old daughter at the Shelby Motor Lodge in July.
But the year has also brought plenty of good news, as Kyle Hicks, son of Alabaster Councilman Bob Hicks, has made great improvements over the past year after he was involved in a serious wreck in November 2010. After what could have easily been a tragic wreck, it’s great to see the recovery he has made over the past 365 days.
More good news came this year after a group of volunteers banded together with the community to help build a new house for Thompson High School graduate Josh Carden. Carden’s grandfather was tragically killed in 2010 when he was struck by a car on Fulton Springs Road, leaving Carden and his grandmother alone in a house in a noisy industrial part of town.
I am amazed to see the work the Josh Carden Project has done on Carden’s new house using nothing but donated materials and labor, and I can’t wait to see the day Carden and his grandmother move into their new home.
2011 was a year full of big headlines for Alabaster, and I have been honored to help tell the latest chapter of this great city.