As I reflect on my past year as Pleasant Hill's mayor, one thing comes to mind: "It was a very good year!"
The 42nd annual Community Awards Night was held Jan. 17, at Back Forty Texas BBQ restaurant. A total of 18 nominations were submitted for the six competitive award categories.
The winners were Leanne Hamaji, Citizen of the Year; the Community Focus, Business of the Year; Helena Encarnacion-Strand, Teen of the Year; and Aida Attiga, Educator of the Year. The Mayor's Award went to Lesley Stiles and the Teen Council. Congratulations to all of these very deserving winners.
At the Mayor's Breakfast on Feb. 7, I launched the Pleasant Hill Education Initiative -- a multiyear volunteer effort to enhance the quality of education for students in our schools.
In only eight months, the initiative has signed up more than 70 school volunteers to assist with Reading Readiness and other in-school programs; hosted a career night at College Park; a Navigating Middle School Forum; and sponsored the Night of a 1,000 Inventions at the Pleasant Hill Library.
We have welcomed a variety of great new businesses to Pleasant Hill, including Zachary's Pizza and The Corner Bakery, both in Downtown Pleasant Hill; Country Waffles at the Crossroads Shopping Center; and my wife's favorite, Nordstrom Rack on Contra Costa Boulevard.
Our Retail Marketing Incentive Program has enabled 13 local businesses to increase their revenues and promote their products to a much larger customer base.
And check out our new ShopPleasantHill.org website and Facebook page which is full of information on dining, shopping and events in Pleasant Hill.
Pleasant Hill is blessed with an abundance of festivals and events, which provide great family entertainment throughout the year. Here are just a few that I would like to highlight.
More than 170 homes participated in the event, which gave residents an opportunity to protect the environment and conserve resources by reusing household items.
Using almost entirely grant money, our fabulous Engineering Department has completed the Geary/Pleasant Hill Road intersection improvement project, resurfaced some of our worst streets, and moved forward to completing the Buskirk Avenue project by next September.
None of this would've been possible without the hard work and dedication of our wonderful staff and hundreds of volunteers, who love our city as much as I do. Thanks for all you do.
Yes, it's been a very good year.
It has been an honor and a pleasure serving as your mayor. Thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity.
My best wishes to you and yours for a happy and healthy holiday season.
Harris is the mayor of Pleasant Hill. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.