The past year has been one of Plant City’s most eventful.
We’re only a few days away from jumping into 2019 but it still hasn’t quite sunk in for me yet. It feels like we just got started.
I’m probably just having a brain fart, I know — there was a lot that happened here in the “itty bitty” this year and we’ve done a number on our keyboards writing about it. I even had to switch computers at one point. Being in Plant City this year just felt so much different for me than it has in the past.
I hit my five-year anniversary with the Observer in September. At this point I’d say most of you know me best from my work in the Sports section. But I’ve dabbled around in the front of the house quite a bit, too, and covering Plant City at large doesn’t feel the same. Plant City itself doesn’t feel the same as it did when I started working here. I guess I’d say it feels more alive, and that’s something that really took hold for me in 2018.
Many of those bigger projects you and I have heard about (and, in some cases, I covered) for the previous four years feel like they’re finally taking shape as something real, something tangible that we can see and touch and experience. It feels like the heart of our little city has grown a few sizes and giving it, especially downtown, new life and culture.
I’ve long thought of Plant City as a place with much more to offer than meets the eye. Now it’s becoming a place where anyone can see what we’ve known all along from having put down roots here years ago. We have so much more to offer than strawberries and their festivals and the world’s best strawberry milkshakes. I mean, Chick-fil-A finally noticed us! That counts for something in my book, especially as the person who once wrote a deadpan April Fool’s Day brief about that happening and subjected us to a lot of hate mail.
This past year made me and my coworkers so excited about the shape of Plant City to come, about everything the future holds for our town and what developments we’re about to see in 2019. Maybe Target will finally take note, too.
We’ve spent the past year gathering some of our favorite photos and recapping what went down in 2018 and, as always, have put it all together for you readers to check out one last time before the new year. Read on for the memories from the News, Neighbors, Sports and other sections of the paper.
On behalf of the Plant City Observer family, we hope you all have a happy new year.