Progress Days 2003 is a well-earned celebration in Soldotna for all residents and visitors. Progress in many areas has been achieved this past year by the hard-working people of the greater Soldotna family. Progress Days is a time to celebrate our appreciation for family, employment and friends and to enjoy the blessings which come from living near our bend in the Kenai River.
Our theme this year, "There's No Business Like Soldotna Business," is especially valid as we enjoy the opening of "Froso's" and the beautiful improvement to the Allan Norville building by the owner of ACS. This past month Mike Sweeney was honored by Carhartt's as an outstanding employer and business service, and we continue to see economic growth, public works paving and beautification of homes and roadways.
We continue to progress and care for all the people of Soldotna. Our ever-growing health care facilities are top notch and the No. 1 employer in Soldotna, which has twice the state average of senior citizens and many veterans. Care for our children and young adults continues to be expressed by our new Elks-City Skateboard Park and our letter-writing campaign to those serving in the military.
During this past year, Soldotna has honored Guy Hayes for his years of support of young people, Shirley Gifford as she retires from being our police chief and the compassionate employees comprising the emergency services sector of our community. Not long ago, we applauded the Soldotna High School students and teacher that captured second place at the International Future Problem Solving Competition.
The homesteaders and families and fishermen were the building blocks upon which Soldotna was founded. Today retail sales, government services and appreciation of the Kenai River drive the great life we find in our homes, schools, places of employment and churches.
In past years I have memorialized individual pioneers that have passed during the previous year in my Progress Days welcome. This year, I am personally aware that every life that has passed represents someone's mother, father, son, daughter, brother or sister. Therefore, sadly and joyfully, I thank all those deceased who have contributed to making Soldotna what it was, is and will be. You will always live in our future.
In seven short years, we will be celebrating the 50th Soldotna Progress Days. During that celebration, we can expect to see better transportation because of the newly completed David Douthit Veterans Memorial Bridge, more local jobs from the modernized Central Peninsula General Hospital, dorms in Soldotna for Kenai Peninsula College, the continuing economic and cultural benefits from the 2006 Arctic Winter Games and the great economic engine which is the Soldotna entrepreneur.
Please enjoy Progress Days 2003 and know that Soldotna's future progress is just around the bend in the Kenai River.
David Carey is the mayor of Soldotna.
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