What's the outlook in Central Missouri?
By any measure - growth in population, economic development or community infrastructure and amenities - the outlook is promising.
A series of special sections - Outlook - included in Sunday's edition tracked some of the progress recorded in 2011 and looked ahead to vibrant plans for the future.
Construction of a new Jefferson City Animal Shelter began last year, a result of a public-private partnership between municipal government and the Friends of the Animal Shelter. The $2 million facility is scheduled to open later this year.
Also on the horizon this year is the proposed city annexation of a 169-acre area west of the city limits and creation of a citizens group to recommend improvements to the municipal transit system.
And, although a comprehensive economic development initiative failed in an election earlier this month, Mayor Eric Streumph anticipates officials will consider prioritizing and pursuing some of the proposed projects.
In Cole County, 2011 brought completion of a new county jail and sheriff's department, financed with a voter-approved, law enforcement sales tax.
Work now is under way to build an interchange on Missouri 179 to connect with the site of a new St. Mary's Health Center.
Infrastructure improvements also are planned this year in other Central Missouri communities and counties.
Progress in economic development is documented by the opening of new businesses and enhancements to established companies.
Any outlook for future prosperity, however, would be incomplete without acknowledging the preservation of our past.
We must respect the history and heritage that make it possible to anticipate and celebrate continued growth in Central Missouri.