Progress in a town the size of Pine-Strawberry can mean many things to many people, depending on your perspective.
Progress is generally defined as moving forward, improvement and development.
Yet, progress also can be marked by the community's ability to retain its small town charm, the character and the sense of community that is Pine-Strawberry.
The Take Pride Committee has taken some forward steps bringing beauty and continuity to the businesses of Highway 87. A group of dedicated volunteers - both business owners and residents - has raised funds to beautify the area with park benches and landscaping intended to invite folks to take the pedestrian route through Pine.
Strawberry too is seeing a change of landscape, as Gila County crews will spend the better part of this winter and spring widening Fossil Creek Road, adding a pathway for pedestrians and equestrians.
New businesses bring new ideas and new life to town. There is storage space in Pine at Bishop Park and a gift shop in Strawberry; Fossil Creek Trading Company, is next door to the Strawberry Market. There are new names on the same faces in some real estate offices as Pine Creek Realty became part of Coldwell Banker Bishop ERA Young Realty opened a new branch in Pine and MVP Realty in Strawberry became an ERA Young Realty office.
The Community Center in Pine has seen small improvements and lots more events, earning its name by becoming the hub of activity. Whether it's a town hall meeting, a summer craft event or a children's birthday party, the Community Center has become just that. Credit goes to the Community Educational Recreational Cultural Association (CERCA) and its member groups for the job they have done in providing this service.
Other community-run organizations continue to survive and succeed in a changing world. The community-owned Pine Medical Center is a shining example of what a community can do to help itself. Bringing top-notch medical care to the community, the medical center board of directors has kept the clinic operating through challenging times.
The senior thrift store is still one of the best places to find treasures and it is still supporting the senior dining hall, providing seniors a place to get a hot meal and a chance for camaraderie every weekday.
Volunteer organizations like Rim Country Kiwanis, P-S Pantry and the Strawberry's Elite make sure the community can take care of its own. Feeding, clothing and providing role models to the young and for those in temporary struggles, these groups have been able to meet the needs of the Pine-Strawberry community.
The P-S community pulled together to face drought, fire threats and bark beetle plague working toward solutions as business owners, students and residents.
Pine-Strawberry is definitely home to progress.