Heading into the new year, Jim Shillemm thinks the economy and the community are looking up.
The owner of Julie's Coffee on West Third Street sees hopeful signs, but he admits 2010 was a little rocky.
"It's been a very challenging year for many people because of the high level of unemployment," he said.
City businessman Jim Shillemm thinks the economy and the community are looking up.
The Indiana University of Pennsylvania alumnus said the discontent of 2010 was shown by the recent changes of political power both at the national and state level.
However, he also believes the majority of people are hopeful about what will come in 2011.
"The signs of optimism are all here," he said, despite the unemployed and the under-employed in the area.
At the national level, he cited the fact the stock market recently closed at a two-year high and said he believes this means businesses are starting to invest again.
Locally, he sees Marcellus Shale drilling as a good thing for the area because it brings new businesses and job creation to the community.
The Kohl's project is another reason for optimism, he said, crediting City Hall's tenacity for seeing the long-talked-about project come to fruition.
In addition, despite recent shootings, the business owner believes the city is a much safer place to live and work in comparison to other areas.
"Williamsport is a much safer community than many people give it credit," the Clearfield native said.
Shillemm moved to Williamsport from State College about 15 years ago, and one of the things he sees in Williamsport that others may overlook is its thriving arts community.
Shillemm cited the Community Arts Center, the Community Theater League and the local art scene in general as unique attractions that place Williamsport at the cultural center of the region.
"People who come into this community view it differently than those who've been here all their lives," he added.