Let’s look at last several weeks where everything is being done differently: Palmer has life size banners on main street of PHS graduates. Last weekend was four drive-in free movies at the State Fair Ground. Hundreds of bags of litter were collected on the roadways by volunteer groups. There were four different parades, including tractors, graduates, teachers and old cars and firetrucks. New downtown community garden plots are being prepared and built by volunteers, near the Grow Palmer food project. The Palmer Library is doing curb-side delivery. The amazing agricultural showcase garden, next to the Museum, is busting with new growth and floral treasures. Free little libraries are popping up in neighborhoods. Outside Yoga is happening in the green. Trending Fairies are dusting strangers in a whole new kindred effort of communion. Palmer Mask-makers continue to be hard at work sharing their craft and talent with others. Beautiful pieces of rock art are found along side the walkways and public buildings. Hot spots for internet are available 24/7 at both borough building and library parking lots. Safety islands are being installed at the major intersection so walkers have a chance to cross the highway without getting crushed. Main Street shop windows are being beautifully hand painted with care. Hanging baskets are starting to come out of the local greenhouses. Walkers and bicyclers are everywhere and vehicular drivers are calming their speeds, out of respect for sharing the road system.
These activities are just an example of “a good town remaining functional in strange times.” Many more people claim Palmer Alaska than actually live within city limits. People with the extensive 99645 zip-code generally rely on Palmer for services. And it is those same people who join city residents to volunteer and spear-head efforts to make the Palmer area better, whether through clean-ups, programs, events, beautification efforts or service activities. This is definitely a two-way street where the city provides essential services and the community-at large supplements the add ons.
The In-between—There is a vast residential population that lives in-between Palmer and Wasilla city limits. The official geographic reference is “Gateway,” which really is just a convenient place-name. There is no real community hub or town in this area unless you consider the centralized nexus to be perhaps the hospital, college, 4-Corners, Colony schools, elementary schools, lakes, Crevasse Moraine trail system, landfill, Recycle Center, favorite bar, Burger Jims or various nice bike paths. This large and lovely area of the Valley has been haphazardly designed as a rural suburbia. It continues to sprawl out as far as developers continue to build large lot single family residence homes.
So the “hub” or “service area” of the “inbetween” is which ever town is desired or frequented. Many claim Wasilla and many claim Palmer, probably for different reasons. The wonderful people “inbetween” have made a deliberate choice to live in less-dense areas outside of the city limits because they enjoy the space, lakes, land-value, trails, schools, and rural feel of stand-alone neighborhoods and farms. But the choice to actually participate and identify with a “town” is theirs alone. If they want “a town” then loyalty will drive them to shop, bank, gas-up, carwash, drink, fun run, worship, eat, wander and volunteer in their chosen town community.
Openings—More and more shops, bars and restaurants are opening carefully. Likewise, the library, swimming pool, and parks are gently opening as well.
This is a great thing to see. Be careful and pay attention so we all can continue to stay well and healthy at all levels.
Definitely patronize the small businesses in Palmer please. They are vulnerable and need our support more than ever.
Palmer Symphony of Flowers — This is an annual ongoing seasonal production at the Showcase Garden beside the Palmer Museum.
First there were the dainty, early primroses with their subtle tiny hum. The next week was the daffodils with their yellow soprano solos. Last week was the red and orange tulips with their big-throated blast of colorful notes.
Every week the garden has colorful vocal solos in the symphony of summer flowers. Don’t miss it.
Barbara Hunt is both Palmer writer and artist. She works hard to keep the robust pulse of Palmer, Alaska. She shares the good stuff in the weekly Palmer Alaska Buzz Column in the Mat Su Valley Frontiersman and daily on the Palmer Alaska Buzz Facebook Group. Her “Palmer Buzz Community Calendar” is available at Palmer shops and the Palmer museum. Contact at email@example.com or text 907.315.3222