There’s a hint of fall in the air, yet summer sun continues to warm the harbor, so don’t put away that sunscreen just yet.
A lot of people have been dropping in at the Gig Harbor Visitors Center and continue to enjoy the attractions and waterfront businesses as they stroll downtown. It’s great to see the ongoing activity even as summer winds down.
Pierce Transit’s trial trolley project has really contributed to around-town mobility this summer. Although final ridership numbers won’t be available until October, we do know that, between July 9 and Sept. 7, the average number of weekly riders was 2,741. Total boardings during that same time equaled 24,665, and that was consistently above target ridership for the project.
In fact, last year during the same time period and on the same routes with regular Pierce Transit buses, daily ridership was about 170 riders per day, or 1,190 per week.
If trolley numbers hold through the end of the month, ridership for the project’s duration will be more than double last year’s numbers.
A group called the Community Investment Team — with folks from the Chamber of Commerce, the City of Gig Harbor, Uptown Gig Harbor, the Downtown Waterfront Alliance and Pierce Transit — subsidized and helped plan the project.
The enthusiastic response from residents and visitors definitely shows this type of limited public transportation works here and may be feasible in other communities as well.
Don’t stop riding yet, however. Hop on the Pierce Transit trolley any time from now through Sept. 27, fill out a Hop the Trolley entry card and enter it to win an iPad provided by participating businesses. The drawing will be held at 10 a.m. Sept. 28 at the Gig Harbor Farmers Market at Uptown.
Just as the summertime program comes to an end, the chamber and its members continue to be busy planning for another yearly cycle of activities and events. Indeed, we’ve just held our election to select the new board members, who will guide and direct the chamber’s programs for the coming year.
Since 1980, the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce has operated as a 501(c) nonprofit organization and relies on its board of directors to represent the needs of its members and the business community. Each elected board member serves a three-year term and chairs a committee where their interests and expertise can best be utilized.
Newly elected directors are Erin Abrigo, financial adviser for Edward Jones; Alison Bennett, division director for recruitment, Hospital Corporation of America; Jay Johnson, financial adviser at Kaiser Wealth Management; Mona Sarrensen, manager of The Inn at Gig Harbor; Justin Stiefel, co-founder/CEO of Heritage Distilling Co.; Cyndi Wilson, owner of Wilson Properties; and Allen Woodard, vice president, Sabin Investment Management.
DPI Print owner Pat Schmidt, who has served on the board since 2011, will be the chair of the 2014 Board of Directors, and Ray Grinberg of Peninsula Light Co. will serve as immediate past president.
New board members will begin their duties following the annual membership meeting on Oct. 10 at Canterwood Golf & Country Club.
One final announcement concerns the Partners in Learning event I talked about in last month’s column. It was, in my estimation, an over-the-top success with more than 700 Peninsula School District teachers and staff members in attendance.
Local businesses that supported the event had to work fast — some even likened it to speed dating — to keep up with all the folks who wanted to hear about the products and services they have to offer education employees year-round.
The best part of all was that we raised nearly $6,000 in one day to help offset transportation costs for 1,400 PSD students who will attend Junior Achievement World in Auburn this year to gain real-world experience in a mini-city setting.
It’s been a busy summer at the chamber as I’m sure it has been for everyone in this beautiful area. If you find yourself with some time on your hands this fall and winter, give us a call. We’re always looking for enthusiastic volunteers to staff the Visitors Center and to help with the many activities we’re planning for the year ahead.Warren Zimmerman is the president of the Gig Harbor Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, which is located at 3125 Judson St. in Gig Harbor. For more information, call 253-851-6865 or visit www.gigharborchamber.com.