2022’s already started in parts of the world, so its time to look at the year ahead for Garden City. Most immediately the schools are going to have to decide how to handle the Omicron outbreak. Today Swarthmore College was the latest to announce it was delaying the return of staff and faculty to campus for 2 weeks. Most other higher education in the area has already delayed the start of their spring terms. Nannette Whitsett has already joined the returning school board members on the school board and on Monday Garden City will get its 4th commissioner in the past 3 years, Shaina Barnes.
Over January, worker shortages are likely to be an ongoing problem as the county’s health department gets to work. Later in the month, the state’s legislative maps should be finalized. If they’re done in time, the elections will proceed normally, but if they’re late there’s three possibilities: the primary could be delayed, legislators could have to run on the old, more gerrymandered maps, or everyone will have to run in state-wide at-large districts, which would be real insanity (ballots with hundreds of names). Assuming the process isn’t delayed, we’ll be collecting petitions in February for the primary in May and general election for state and federal house districts, governor and senator in November. Local and state party members will also be on the primary ballot.
The winter should be an expensive one. With gas prices rising, heating will be much more costly than in previous years. By the beginning of spring, barring anything new, Covid will fall to more manageable levels and by the end of spring we should see a return to the usual end of school year activities like graduations, weddings and other markers of the cycle of life. The spring should also see the start of the E Rose Valley and Possum Hollow sidewalk projects in the township. There will likely be a lot of trash talk in the year ahead as the county redoes its solid waste plan and the township continues work toward its zero waste resolution. The township will also start looking to spend the American Recovery Act funds it was allocated, though most of that work likely won’t start before 2023. The school district will be receiving the results of its equity and curriculum audits and begin the process of crafting a new strategic plan as it prepares its budget for the coming school year.
By the summer, the county should have started the process of returning the county’s prison to county control. Last summer was a brief respite from Covid and its likely to be more so again this year as the pools reopen and more people return to travel. More of the regular events should return as we saw this past summer. Hopefully by the opening of the new school year we’ll see a return of more school activities as well and we’ll discover what school will be like going forward. In the fall the township will start to prepare its budget while election campaigning picks up. With a likely highly contested governor’s race and one of the nation’s most critical senate races, Pennsylvania’s likely to be a focus of attention. After the contests, hopefully the year will close with a return to larger family gatherings. If all goes well.