Journalists are by nature people who look back at the past. We’re largely curious by nature and trained to examine the actions of the past with an eye towards documenting them and putting them in the context of a narrative.

We are also by nature cynical. We are slow to trust what we hear, and the best of us test what we hear against available evidence. To be otherwise credulous would be a disservice to our readers.

We don’t make the greatest party guests (depending on the party), but we can muster the goodwill when we need to. And what better time to do so than in the middle of the holiday season. While he past 12 months don’t lend themselves to a lot to look forward to, I thought it would be good to spend my last 15 column inches of 2017 looking forward to the next year.

The Chestnut Hill Local will be marking its 60th year in 2018. We’re in the beginning stages of planning how we will mark this occasion, not just in print, but with an event that allows the entire community to participate. I’m not an objective source for this sentiment, but the Local – an independent news organization founded and owned by a community association – is a genuine modern marvel. It’s a testimony not only to those civic leaders with the vision to set it up the way they did, but also to the current crop of volunteers on the CHCA and the Chestnut Hill Local board of directors that are keeping it that way.

In January, the first of three meetings will take place on the Northwest District plan – a plan that will have an impact on Chestnut Hill, Mt Airy and Germantown. As reported last week here, the Chestnut Hill Conservancy has already performed an enormous amount of work on the issues of planning in Chestnut Hill and in the Wissahickon. It’s hard to know what measures might come from the Northwest Plan, but the neighborhood is in good hands thanks to the effort the CHC has put into the planning process.

The year 2018 begins with relatively new leadership at the Chestnut Hill Community Association and the Chestnut Hill Business District. With new executive directors in place – Anne McNiff at the CHCA and Philip Dawson at the business district  – there’s new energy to build on the positive steps these organizations have taken over the last year. From the business district’s busy schedule of neighborhood events to the CHCA’s work on neighborhood zoning and funding of neighborhood programs, Hillers can be sure the neighborhood will continue to be a great place to live.

So, finally, in keeping with the good vibes, thanks to all who read the Local and support us. We’ve had a positive 2017 and hope to have a better 2018.

Pete Mazzaccaro