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About this City Journal

Follow the development Holt, a rapidly rising and sprawling region. Since 2012!

Entries in this City Journal

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One Year Later

HOLT: ONE YEAR LATER

It has been one chaotic year. It has been a full year since I lasted posted an update here in Holt. When I posted that Holiday shopping update a year ago, I didn’t expect there to be a full year gap in updates. But, as they say, life is what happens when you’re busy making plans. So, you might be wondering what has been going on in Holt for the past year… Unfortunately, not much. A lot has been going on in RL, basically everything has been keeping me busy.  It’d be easier to list things that haven’t kept me busy. :P Needless to say I haven't been around here much this year as RL kept me more than busy...

So, Holt. Unfortunately not much has been going on there. In all honesty I have probably spent only a few hours in Holt the entire year. Certainly nowhere near the amount of time I have in years past. Little has been developed/achieved. That's certainly not to say I haven’t been messing around in SC4, I have, just not so much in Holt. Call it creator’s block, if you will. There are certainly some ideas floating around, but few seem to really work out. I think I am, more or less, “stuck” with where to go in Holt, or at least not sure how to get where I want to go. I think, like some of my other projects, I worked myself into a corner. Some things I have done in the past in Holt have set me in a direction I can’t totally change, and unfortunately some of what I want to go with Holt, can’t be achieved without totally changing the dimensions of Holt. (By that I mean the realism of things built not being suddenly scrapped, minus that one CBD, of course. 0:)) People who play any sim-style game will know the desire to try something new every now and then. 

Which brings us to now. In essence, there is nothing new to show from Holt from this past year. Part of that is the creator’s block described above, part of that is RL keeping me immensely busy. Unfortunately for Holt, it doesn’t look like the busy part will get any better. In fact, it will probably only get worse.

Those two facts, and several other factors, lead to one hard decision: One year after the last Holt update, I am officially ending Holt. These past 3 (!!!) years have been absolutely amazing. Okay, so the last year may not quite count, but you get the point. When I started Holt I had a general idea of where I wanted to go, but I never did fully expect how much it took off. The sheer volume of likes, views and comments received exceeded my expectations exponentially. The feedback has been great, and I have had so much fun sharing the progression of Holt with you.

Recently, I took a look back and read through the updates I have published. I don’t often actually go back and look at updates that are too far back. It was a great trip down memory lane. I can still picture preparing some of the updates, particularly larger ones (like the census) or ones outside my normal comfort zone (Helllooo Amusement Park!)… but all in all it did make me smile a bit. So too did everyone’s feedback, even when people were pointing out things that were a little, off... things I needed to work on. (How else would I know how to get better? :)) 

This past year, well past several really, have been exciting and challenging. A lot has changed, just as a lot of things changed here too. It was definitely not easy to officially call this the end, but here we are. While this certainly is not good-bye (I plan to still be active in the community, despite 2015 being a mostly non-existent year for me), it’s the end of a big chapter of my time here in the community.

It is time to officially close the book of Holt. It has been an absolute blast publishing Holt for the past 3 years. Hopefully I will see many familiar people around the community for some time to come. 

And as any avid book-lover knows, just because you’ve closed a book doesn’t mean you’ll never read it again. ;)

All the best,
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Thank You, for coming on the journey through Holt for the last 3 years. :) 

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And So It Begins

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Welcome Back! And so it begins...

'Tis the season for crowded stores, lack of parking spaces and crazy drivers... or so they say.

Meet Holt's newest mall. Built in what's essentially (was?) the middle of nowhere. Won't be in the middle of nowhere long.

Lots of construction around the mall, with lots more planned.

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It's proving to be a quite popular mall already. And reports show crowds at other malls.... well they haven't died down either.

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Thanks For Visiting!

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Happy Holidays!

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Skyline Rising

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Welcome Back! Skyline Rising Ahead...

Former parkland redeveloped to house more development. Provincial Parliament parks receiving complete makeovers.

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That's all for today. Hopefully another update soon. (But, you never know. RL... pesky thing it is.

;))

Thanks For Visiting!

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Happy Holidays!

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Welcome Back! Today's Update: A Sprawling Maze

I'm getting dizzy just about now... you? Smaller update today to fill the gap.

Driving around, looking for my friend's house. It didn't quite look like these...

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...more like these. Except I don't remember the streets looking like this...

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...oh no... this is like being lost in a corn maze...

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...I don't remember this school. Am I even in the right town?!

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Thanks For Visiting!

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Replies Coming Soon.

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Autumn Colours Arrive

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Welcome Back! Autumn has arrived. Let's go check out the colours.

Tweaking the update design slightly and experimenting with fewer captions. Stay tuned for more potential "tweaks"

and where captioning will head.

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Small intensification projects in quiet neighbourhoods. Breaks up the landscape nicely, and these condos certainly have a nice view of the fall colours.

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A few houses being rebuilt in this neighbourhood.

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Plenty of good colour here. Lots of open parkland, large lots makes this area very desirable.

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Thanks For Visiting!

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Reader Survey

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HOLT READERSHIP SURVEY

Sorry, folks, not an update today. I have a few in the works, but some annoying kinks in SC4 combined with the slowness of some city tiles has slowed those down a bit. Anyways, I've been thinking about some potential changes to the way Holt is served up for a while now, since around the time it was announced that Holt would be eliminating formal storylines from updates and the current update format was adopted. In the "change" announcement I made mention to some potential future changes, but to not worry as they were a while out. That is true, it has been a while. So I thought I would reach out to you, those who follow Holt, to try and get a feel for some possible ideas and changes in the way Holt is presented. Holt is now published on 4 sites, encompassing 6 publications. This is a whole heck of a lot of work on my end. So I have been looking for ways to lighten the load when updating, so to speak, when I publish updates. I have been looking at ways to try and either keep all 6 publications going in some form, cut certain publications or launch new ways of doing updates. Based on the feedback I receive from all sites in general, it'll somewhat guide me in the decision making of where to go. Note that a potential outcome is the status quo, and that nothing really changes in terms of the number of publications and so on.

Below, I list out several hypothetical/potential ways Holt could change. Your comments on what you like best about each, or which one you like the most and so on is greatly appreciated. If you like a combination of several of the scenarios below, please feel free to let my know. All feedback is appreciated. These changes, even when I get a sense for where I'll be going, won't be instant. They may happen this fall, or they could happen next summer. It all depends. So, let's get on.

:)

SCENARIO #1:

How likely would you be to continue reading and/or commenting if Holt ceased publication on your SimCity fansite of choice? Would you continue to follow it on another site?

Explanation: This one is semi-self explanatory. Certain Holt publications (likely 1-3) would be cut, while others are maintained. None would be deleted, those chosen for publication ending would no longer be updated. There would, of course, be the potential for it to one day begin publication again.

SCENARIO #2:

How likely are you to continue reading and/or commenting on Holt is full updates were no longer published on your SimCity fansite of choice, but instead teaser images linking to another publication of Holt. This being either on another SimCity community, or a new Holt website?

Explanation: Certain publications would likely receive a short description on the full update along with one of the images from the update, and it would in turn be directed towards the full update on another site. Replies on these versions would be done on a rolling basis (ie. monthly) and teasers (1-2 image updates) would be published in full on these sites. Large updates are what would be reduced.

SCENARIO #3:

How likely would you be to continue reading/commenting on Holt if updates were moved to its dedicated site, with update teasers posted on the current publication on your community of choice? If no teasers were posted? [Would you consistently check the new Holt website for updates and/or follow @HoltDistrict for information on new updates?]

Explanation: This combined potentially either scenario 1 or scenario 2 for some publications, while others would maintain full updates. The big change is full updates (and more) would be published on an all-new Holt website. This would likely be powered by WordPress, and would have the ability for comments to each update, similar to the ST CJ Blog Section and SMP Player Albums Section. This option would also mean I would begin using Twitter more again to promote updates on this new site and so on. It isn't likely all versions would be cut, but more likely 2-3 options would receive the treatment in option 1-2, or even 4.

SCENARIO #4:

What would your thoughts be if Holt on your favourite SimCity community was not regularly updates like other publications, but instead received "combined" updates on a semi-regular basis (ie every 1-3 months, all updates from those months would be combined into one huge update)?

Explanation: In this scenario, certain publications would receive updates on a semi-monthly basis, or perhaps based on a number of updates basis, whichever at any point in time results in a "fair" amount of updates. For example, if over 2 months 5 updates each with 5 pictures are posted, after 2 months these versions would receive all 25 pictures in one go, with the potential for a couple of bonus pictures to make up for the delay in posting. This option has the potential to be combined with scenario #3, in that a new site with updates is launched with several publications going to the format described here.

Whew! I know that's a lot, and I'm sure I have been rambling a bit. So, if you have any questions on the above, do not hesitate to ask! I have in mind already which route I'd prefer to go, but I am interested in seeing what others are thinking to see if that means a possible change in plans. This, combined with a planned format change to updates could make for huge change in how Holt is published, the biggest since it was published really. Again, as mentioned earlier there are no plans to immediately put any of these ideas into action, though it could happen sooner rather than later, or not. Once I have an idea of where things will be going, I will at that point make an announcement in each Holt publication on what those plans are, and how/if it will change that specific publication.

And of course there is always scenario #5, things stay as they are now across all publications.

I want to thank all of you for being awesome supportive over the past 2+ years, and I look forward to many more! Change can be scary, but working this out with everyone will hopefully make it less so for both you and I! :P

I look forward to reading your thoughts,

-simlink

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IT'S THAT TIME!

So, after about a month or 2, I'm finally back again. For a bit.. maybe longer? Who knows.

:P Either way, today after being a month late I'm happy to present Holt's anniversary update! It has been over 2 years since I began publishing Holt back at the end of July, 2012. A lot has changed since then, in both the region and in terms of the journal itself. It is now published on 4 sites across 6 versions surpassing 1000 comments and 100 000 views. And it's not going anywhere yet. :)

I figured that since I always seem to have less time on my hands, one of the reasons for changes to Holt this past year, I would reshape census updates to occur annually instrad of quarterly. And I figured, what better time to do them, than at the anniversary updates? It's a great way to recap what has been each year of this journal's life. So from here on, census updates will be the anniversary updates. So, enough talking, let's get on with it!

HOLT: THIS YEAR'S RECAP

+ WHAT'S AHEAD

Today's update covers the period from the end of July 2013 to end of July 2014. Note that since the last census figured were gathered in June 2013 that this year's span is a little bit longer than would be normally. From here on census updates should be published in/around July 27 of each year.

My my, what a year it has been! It's hard to believe it has been over a year since the last census here in Holt. Things have certainly changed, as you will get a picture for below. It has been a year filled with building both up and out throughout the region, with Sherkston and Manatee growing taller, and Dofino and the like growing outward at a great clip. Growth has not slowed down here in Holt through now, and the order of most populous municipalities continues to rapidly change. There's been lots developed, Highway 40 is being widened to 6 lanes, the LRT system continues to expand, and the entire road network is as well as the region sprawls out.

Some interesting projects I have started to take on this year (2014-2015) include replacing the planted trees in Holt with season trees that are more realistic in appearance. This is a big job, particularly along the shoreline. Should be a fun challenge.

:) As you will see later in the region view, I also abandoned the Kuhan CBD project. I didn't like where it was going, so it is being replace with what else, but sprawlburbs! And some other interesting development. I know this goes against my general rule of I show it off, it`s here to stay, but you know the saying... rules are meant to be broken. ;) Other than that, expect some more awesome new developments in the year ahead!

HOLT 2014 CENSUS

The moment you have been waiting for! This is the actual census portion of the update. Let's get into it.

As previously mentioned, this has been a busy year in Holt. Holt's population continues to soar, increase by about 1 000 000 since last year!

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In a rapidly changing landscape, Sherkston holds on to the top spot in the population podium. But second and third place are certainly catching up.

Growth has been fuelled by ongoing intensification zone developments.

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Kuhan's population soared this past year, as development continues to sprawl through it at a rapid pace. Residential and industrial development are sprawling faster than developers can cope. The town has had its humble 3000 population from the days of 2012 skyrocket to closing in on 500 000, a number it could easily exceed in the coming year.

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Flynn was leapfrogged over this year by Kuhan, dropping Flynn to third in the population podium. However, its growth too has been stellar, more than doubling from the previous year. Flynn, like Kuhan, is experiencing rapid sprawl as you will see from the regional view. And it is only getting faster these days. It too is expected to pop-over 500 000 in population in the next year.

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Dofino's close proximity to Kuhan, Flynn and Sherkston are propelling it forward. Industrial development has taken hold, a second highway exit was added on highway 40 in the north section of town and more development in the residential sector has propelled Dofino this year. Dofino essentially doubled in size, closing in on 300 000, leading to overtake Manatee in population.

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Manatee was once the second most populous city in the region, but has dropped to 5th recently. However, development here too has been accellerating. It could be the first of the core municipalities to be built out, something that could occur this upcoming year. Time will tell.

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Joining the six-digit club this year is Shorecoast, who experienced extremely modest growth compared to the rest of the region. Shorecoast is looking at ways to maximize development of land it has left on the coast, while not alienating tourists and existing residents. Expect modest growth again this upcoming year.

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Norecount continues to plug away! Its main highway 40 interchange was completely rebuilt, while the highway 40/23 interchange is currently undergoing a complete rebuild. Southward, highway 40 will become a divided 6 lane highway, instead of the super-2 it is currently. That, plus a large planned industrial park and expanded LRT service could greatly increase growth in the town this year.

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Midport experience the mildest growth of any municipality this past year, increasing in size only 1.2%. The growth was attributed solely to some new condominiums developed in the town.

Planners are finalizing a waterfront master-plan for the community, one that could see a mixture of new development, waterfront parks and trails and more. This is something that could start coming to light this upcoming year, though it could get mired in red tape. Time will tell!

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Old Port is finally starting to see accelerated growth, increasing in size a whopping 57.9% this past year. It too could see increased waterfront development this upcoming year, as this picture shows the breadth of waterfront land left... but time will tell: Was this year a fluke for Old Port?

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As you can see, it has been a busy year in Holt! It's extremely fast-paced development continued, and probably won't let up this upcoming year.

HOLT REGION VIEWS

This is always a fun part. Below are the region view for the past 3 years here in Holt. Oldest to newest, you can see the progress each year. This past year's changes have been huge, as you could imagine from the above numbers.

July/August 2012

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June/July 2013

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JULY/AUGUST 2014 (CURRENT REGION VIEW)

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"SATELLITE VIEW" TEST. July/August 2014 (Current)

This one's for fun.

:)

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And that wraps up this year's Holt Anniversary update and Annual Census, 2014 Edition! I hope you'll continue to follow Holt to its third birthday, and stay tuned for another exciting recap of the year that was (or, for now, that will be.

;)) It'll be a fun one, that's for sure! So thanks again, everyone, for sticking with Holt through lulls in activity and the like through the 2 years it has been so far. I'm excited for the next year, and I hope you are too!

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Replies to previous update(s) and this will be done together. Thanks again for the support!

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Reach For the Sky

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Welcome Back! Manatee Is Reaching For The Sky...

Seems the height-boom has hit Manatee's downtown core.

Low no more. In the outer-core of Manatee's downtown district, these 2 new buildings popped up.

Definitely adds some height to the area.

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The big addition, though, is here. Now the tallest building in Manatee, this tower houses a new Financial Services company.

Their main business is in-store brand financial services. Store credit cards, and even store-branded mortgages!

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Many may recognize this from the HD LRT updates a while back. This are is now the discussion of city council.

A developer is rumoured to want to buy a few buildings here, knock them down and intensify. Council and residents feelings' are mixed.

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Council is a little more receptive to ideas of intensification here, near the core. Nothing to update on yet, the gas station owner is quite stubborn.

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Elsewhere, some mild intensification just outside the core. This area was badly damaged by the tornado.

The shopping plaza is said to be for sale, though the tenants have long-term leases remaining...

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This used to be a strip-mall, before being ravaged by the tornado. The owner has decided to redevelop as medium-density mixed-use.

Some residential and some commercial and offices are expected.

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Thanks for Visiting!

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Welcome Back! Industrial revolution of sorts ahead.

But first, an important announcement...

THANK YOU!

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4 websites, 6 publications, 100 000 views.

This is a HUGE milestone, so thank you for continuing to support and follow Holt!

It's much appreciated.

:)

Now on to regularly scheduled programming...

At one time, there was zero industrial development in Holt. Even when industrial development began to arrive, Dofino was long a hold-out.

It was one of the last non-waterfront communities in Holt to permit industrial developments like this one.

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Now, though, it sprawls through the area much like houses and condos.

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There isn't much heavy industry, largely clean industries save for the occasional factory.

Most are clean manufacturing and tech-industry related. Pharmaceuticals, as well.

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Shipping & distribution is also very common, as the number of warehouses shows.

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In some places, the layout of the industrial park is very neat and organized, much like mid-density residential sprawl in the area.

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Now it's night time. Far fewer lights still on compared to the offices we toured last update.

Still a charming look, though.

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Thanks For Visiting!

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Back In The Office

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Welcome Back! Today we're taking a look at Manatee office buildings.

Good to see everyone again!

:)

A lot has changed in Manatee. This large office park has popped up, part of the intensification zone in the central portion of the region.

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Lots of parking and large spaces between buildings help transition to nearby low-density.

Those baseball diamonds are surprisingly popular both at lunch and after work hours.

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The tallest building in the development. It's pretty tall, and on an angle. An angle! How cool, eh?

Best thing since sliced bread.

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Lots of building. Lots of parking. And some trees. This helps this intensification development transition to nearby low-density.

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More buildings! These one house TD Canada Trust (Holt), Inc. And a bunch more just next to them.

Hey look, a power substation, too!

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And now it's night time. Time for most to be home for sure. Those still working help light up the night sky.

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Thanks For Visiting!

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Welcome Back! It's night time now.

Shorter update, but still wicked awesome. Let's go check out the night.

Before we begin, also be sure to check out my new blog,

simlink's Kitchen Sink and follow my new twitter, @simlinkpro!

It's a dark, dark night here. The lights are bright and numerous. And all the cool shapes make for a cool scene.

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Zooming in on the night. This area is predominantly office space.

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Of course, with all these offices, there have to be some condos nearby...

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And to finish off, this bright spectacular scene. Lots of light, and mammoth construction.

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Thanks For Visiting!

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Join

Simopsis today!

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Sprawling Always

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Welcome Back! Today we're back to Kuhan.

And look how long this photo is! First mosaic in a long time!

Before we begin, also be sure to check out my new blog,

simlink's Kitchen Sink and follow my new twitter, @simlinkpro!

Suburban sprawl is rampantly spreading, as is now medium desiity sprawl. Plenty of new condos to choose from.

This mosaic really gives you idea of what the whole wider are is like.

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Night time. Looks pretty with all these modern condo buildings here.

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Thanks For Visiting!

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Changing Skylines

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Welcome Back! Today we're checking out the changing skyline in Sherkston.

Hey, wait... no! Don't park there, it's about to be a skyscraper!

These parking lots were once a staple around the Toyota Centre, the main arena in Sherkston.

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Nowadays, cranes tower over the former parking lots.

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This was to be a parking garage, but plans now call for another building.

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Lots of cranes. The Provincial Capital is in the background.

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All those cranes have residents wondering how long until this...

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...becomes this...

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Thanks For Visiting!

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Sprawling Paradise

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Welcome Back! Today we're touring the sprawling paradise of Kuhan. Be sure to remember exact directions...

Not too long ago, this intersection wasn't even here. Now shops and construction frame it.

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A large mall is coming soon...

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Not too far away lies more shopping.

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There are a few houses in the area. Depending on your definition of "few."

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Now which house is mine, again?

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This will serve as a landmark for many at night. "I live in the house by the large office building!"

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In the end, that won't be much help. Now, was it a right at the first street, or a left at the second? Oh dear. I think I'm lost.

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Thanks for Visiting!

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Sherkston Midtown

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Welcome back! Today we're touring Sherkston Midtown. Construction is starting to heat up here.

Midtown has a mix of historic and modern buildings.

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There's a mix of residential and commercial, especially here on the fringes of downtown.

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That parking lot won't last much longer.

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Suddenly night time. Shops, offices and apartments light up the night sky.

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All the night lights make for nice scenery, even in Midtown.

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It's quiet now, but this scene will be busy again tomorrow morning.

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Thanks For Visiting!

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The End (As We Know It)

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ELECTION RESULTS + THE END AS WE KNOW IT

The Holt District Union Party ran a tight campaign, and they prevailed. Taking 45% of the popular vote, they took the majority of seats on the enlarged Holt District regional council chambers, taking 26 of the 45 seats that were up for grabs throughout the region. Taking second part status was the Green Party, whose support went through the roof after a series of mis-steps from the Progressives and SODEMS. The Greens took 11 seats in the chambers. Following them are the Progressive, who were the big losers in the election only taking 5 seats. The SODEMS took the remainder, 2 seats. No independents were elected despite strong numbers in many riding. In 10 ridings independent candidates took second place.

The election results were a major shakeup from the poll at the beginning of the campaign, which showed a neck-in-neck race between the Progressives and Union Party. However, after a series of mis-steps, the Progressives popularity sunk, and party leader failed to win their seat in Sherkston. The Progressives sunk because of their stance on environmentalism, stating they would not introduce a greenbelt area to the region. They further stated that expansion of roadways and highways would be favoured over a regional transit system. The system they proposed would only connect Manatee, Sherkston and Kuhan, while the Union and Greens proposed region-wide transit LRT system. They also announced their intention to freeze funding to the regional school board, despite huge budget surpluses. They also looked to outsourcing a number of functions, including utility and road maintenance, which again proved unpopular.

The Union party took advantage of these mis-steps, and did not flip-flop on their platform. They stayed true to their proposals, and voters rewarded them. The Greens saw their popularity surge with some SODEM support being redirected to them after the SODEMS turned back on an earlier election promise to slow the pace of development substantially. They aligned themselves closer to the Union Party on this matter, so many jumped to the Green Party which has similar development ideals as the SODEMS started the campaign with.

Here's a chart showing popular support fresh from the election:

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In the end, the Union took 45% of the vote, the Greens took 25% of the vote while the remainder was split amongst the Progressives (16% of the vote), the SODEMS (11% of the vote) and Independent candidates. A very different result from November 8th polling update.

In the end, a very different result than expected is what ruled in Holt District. But a majority government has been elected, and perhaps the corruption that had been winding its way into the region will be shut out by the newly elected government. One can hope the next 4 years will be stable.

But only time will tell.

THE END AS WE KNOW IT

And with that, we come to a close on this chapter of Holt District. Starting with the next update, big changes will be taking hold of Holt District, with more emphasis on more content, hopefully more often, though no guarantees on that front. ;) It has been a blast concocting these storylines, but as I mentioned in the announcement a few weeks back, I just don't have the time to play the region, develop the storylines and publish HD. So changes were necessary to continue, and to continue enjoying it to an extent. To those who left comments post-announcement, THANK YOU! I had replies to each and every comment, but as technology sometimes does my computer played "LOL, you can't have that file!" and the replies are gone. I know this message is sort of "bleh" for what you wrote, but I really do want to thank all of you for your support! Without readers like you guys, HD would have stopped long ago.

I look forward to showing you the future of HD, you'll love what's coming next!

-simlink

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Holt District Is Changing

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HOLT DISTRICT IS CHANGING.

It is no secret, in fact it is quite plain obvious, Holt District hasn’t been as active as it used to be. A large part of that is time. I’m swamped in RL, and I simply haven’t had the time to develop full updates for HD like I used to. A lot goes into making an update of HD, including developing storylines, historical context for photos, and then actually taking photos, editing them, writing the introductions, etc. for the updates, answering replies and posting updates across 5 versions on 4 websites. I haven’t been happy with how infrequently I’ve been updating, and it is no secret “updates” have only really been teasers lately, save for the elections updates. Given that long-term my RL situation will remain the same, and perhaps only get busier, I’ve made a bold decision about the future of Holt District. One that some will like, one that others will not.

I cannot promise I will update regularly again, especially given my schedule, I’m merely attempting to make it simpler and more likely for me to update more often. Though it still will not be as often as when HD first launched.

So what was this decision? Effective the wrapping up of the elections storyline, and pending 1 or 2 other storylines, I will most likely be dropping full-on storylines from Holt District. I know this is breaking what HD set out to be, but RL has become so busy, and it obviously takes precedence. Given that I am still having fun developing and playing HD, I didn’t want to see it fade away entirely. As such, updates will continue, just without the overarching storylines.

Under the new HD, we will continue to see the region change and develop. Census updates will likely stick around, but will be cut down to semi-annually (December and June of each year). There will still be some sort of wording to go along with my updates, but it will be significantly cut-down. Think back to some of the earlier updates, and that is where I am heading. No storylines spread over multiple updates in the sense you’ve come to know. No more “darkness”, “elections”, etc. We will now solely focus on the development of the region.

The reason for this change is it will simplify the update process, as I’ve mentioned. It will free me to update random parts of the region, not sticking to what is being told as the story-du-jour. Something else that will also occur is updates will no longer be numbered. Because updates will come in such a wide variety of sizes, I don’t think numbering them anymore really has any sense. Photos will likely be continued to be numbered, but don’t quote me on that. It is subject to change by relaunch time.

To those who’ve come to love the story-line aspect of HD, I apologize. I just simply don’t have the time anymore to maintain the storylines, and no longer have the time to develop them. I’ve loved the storylines, and hope maybe sometime I will be able to fit in a random storyline or something, but I can’t guarantee it. I hope you will continue to follow HD in its new, and quite different, form. To those hating the update frequency (hey, I am too!) – I won’t guarantee this will mean more updates. It really depends on where my RL schedule goes. But I will sure try.

Now what does this simplification mean for the other aspects of HD (mainly Twitter and website)? I will most likely not update the website frequently (same as now), though I plan to use twitter more again.

Now then, some fun news. In order to signal when the changeover occurs, I will be launching an all-new look to HD once again. I’m going edgier/bold/modern this time, at least I think I am. :P That’ll be under wraps until the relaunch. The date for the changeover is dependent on the next week or two of my RL schedule, however there is a tentative date in place that is soon. That is, at this point, all I can say. But come the conclusion of the election storyline, there may be another ending or two to some loose end storylines. But for sure, the elections will be represented.

This is a big change, and it may seem sudden that these changes are being adopted, however it is something I have been thinking for a while. There is the potential for more changes down the line, but for now I wouldn’t worry about those. For now, I want to thank everyone who has supported HD, and I hope you will continue too. I hope this announcement doesn’t come as too big a disappointment to anyone.

Given the huge change this represents, and the perhaps suddenness of this announcement, if you have any questions about this announcement, please ask them. Given the numerous versions there are of HD, all questions will be combined into one post so everyone gets an answer to all questions asked.

I’m excited about the changes, and hope you are too. I really do hope you’re not entirely disappointed about the new direction HD is heading. But simply put, I thought this change would be better than HD fading into the sunset altogether at this time.

-simlink

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HD ELECTIONS: NOVEMBER 8TH UPDATE

In today's HD elections update, we'll be taking a look at how elections now work at the regional and municipal levels, the 4 main parties and their platforms, and current polling numbers. HDElections is responsible for managing the elections at the regional and municipal levels and develops polling guidelines, polling stations, issues sanctions, sets rules/regulations pursuant to provincial legislation, etc. So let's get on, starting with how elections now work in the region after a massive change was approved by the provincial legislature.

NOTE: This is a text-based update with pictures being graphs.

HOW ELECTIONS NOW WORK AT THE REGIONAL LEVEL

Holt District is located within the province of Orchidsen. The provincial legislature, where the majority of seats are held by the Orchidsen Liberal Party, recently passed into law that regional and munucipal political parties would now be permitted official status. This has led to wide, sweeping changed at the regional level, and lesser changes at the municipal level. At the regional level, the regional council is now elected on a party-based system, where the leader of the party which wins the largest number of regional seats becomes the regional government head, newly renamed the Regional Chancellor. This differs from the previous system, where the regional leader would be elected on a separate ballow from regional councillors. While councillors were free to note their political affiliation, there were no political parties, and the regional head was elected at-large. The reason for the change was lobbying by several major regions to introduce this system. It would more clearly outline the direction the region would take on major issues. While the new system is sitll not perfect, and the potential for deadlock still exists, it is hoped that it will lead to efficiencies in major regional votes and that decisions will represent a wider range of citizens views on issues that have an effect on the entire region. This is the first election with the party-based system. Independents are still welcome to run as regional councillors, however they are not in theory able to be directly elected Regional Chancellor If independents form the largest "party" (ie more independents than the largest number of seats held by one of the 4 main parties) there is to be a run off of sitting candidates, from the independents, to lead the region. This is also to be discussed further in the provincial legislature, depending on the results of this first province-wide regional/municipal elections turn out and function under their first term.

The leader of each party must run for district representative of one of the regions districts. Should they lose their district, but their party hold the plurality of seats, they will have to run in any future by-elections, and appoint a leader from those candidates elected.

It should be noted that a government cannot "fall", ie if a mart holds a minority. Depending on the deadlock created, the province may intervene. There is an expectation set forth by the province every reasonable effort to co-operate among the parties will be present in the event of a deadlock. Since many of the parties have some common elements in their platforms, it is unlikely every proposal would be shot down in the event of a minority.

HOW ELECTIONS NOW WORK AT THE MUNICIPAL LEVEL

The municipal elections will function differently than the regional elections. At the municipal, it is more-so a case of the introduction of municipal-level political parties and affiliations. Councillors will continue to be elected by ward in the municipality as they are now, with the number of councillors per ward set by the municipality with provincial approval as before. The mayor of each municipality will continue to be elected at-large. Councillors and mayors will now have party affiliations, with each party selecting candidates to run under their banner in each ward, and selecting a leader to run for the mayor's post. Under this system, it is possible one party holds the plurality of seats, but the mayor is from another political affiliation. Should the new format of regional elections not work, this system would be adopted for regional elections in the election following this campaign. The provincial government will reflect on the results, and how the regions operate under the upcoming terms. There is not as great a change at the municipal level.

THE 4 PARTIES

The following 4 parties run at the regional level. They also have "arms" in each of the municipalities in the region. Currently, no other parties exist at the municipal level, only the municipal arms of these 4 parties. This section does not include independents running.

UNION - THE HOLD DISTRICT UNION PARTY

This party is centre, centre-left. The party believe that development must be reigned in in the region. The Union Party supports ending the BOLDNEWHD plan introduced by the current regional government and developing a new plan which would see development occur at a slower pace. This would allow for a more cohesive development of the region, and to an extent give more power back to the municipalities. The Union Party believe the the major points of BOLDNEWHD are valid, and would support the continuation of the major projects introduced, but would slow the overall pace of development. The party is also looking into setting aside some undeveloped land for a large regional park and conservation area in the central portion of the region, between Kuhan and Flynn.

The Union Party also supports expanding social programs at the regional level, including the free-lunch program for under-priveledged children and expanding the regional affordable housing program currently in place.

PROGRESSIVES - THE PROGRESSIVE PARTY OF HD

This party is right-of-centre. The Progressives believe in continuing development as-is in the region, and expanding the scope of the BOLDNEWHD plan. The Progressive party supports expanding the intensification zone that is split between Flynn, Kuhan, Sherkston and Manatee to a wider area, to include the Kuhan CBD and surrounding area. The Progressive party if elected would take more development control from the municipalities with regards to projects related to BOLDNEWHD. It believes that Holt District's population should be pushed to the 20 million range, up from current estimates of a built-out population of 5-10 million. This would be achieved through intensification zone expansion, and the introduction of future intensification zones, including several along the Holt District coast.

The Progressive party supports the existing social programs at the regional level, no significant alterations would occur.

SODEMS - THE HOLT DISTRICT SOCIAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY

This party is left-leaning. The SODEMS believe in equality for all. The party supports expanding the Holt District affordable housing program to every municipality. It is looking to construct several thousand new units, and increase monetary support to those living in these projects. The SODEM party believes in expanding the scope of the region's job finding assistance program. It wants to expand it to secondary schools, and to increase the number of locations in the region. The party believes finding those out of work to be the number one priority. Given the number of avaiable jobs in the region, the party also wishes to launch a skill-retraining program to help those looking for work develop the skills to match the numerous positions available.

The SODEMS also believe in repealing all legislation related to BOLDNEWHD, except for developing a better education board (it wants the region's school to be top from in the province, up from third, in 2 years), pushing the provincial government for healthcare services expansion, and developing a better regional transit system. It also believe in returning the majority of planning back to the municipalities.

GREEN - THE GREEN PARTY OF HOLT DISTRICT

The green party is left-leaning to left-of-centre, with a focus on environmentalism. The Green Party proposes introducing a large greenbelt area to protect the undeveloped waterfront currently left in Holt District, and another to stop sprawl in the central portions of the region. The green party envisions of built-out Holt District, including greenbelt protected area, of 3.5 million. It believe development should be curtailed in the near future so as to be more sustainable in the future. It wishes to work with municipalities to strike a balance between development and green-space. The green-party also is looking to repeal development-related components of BOLDNEWHD. The party would introduce new planning policies to replace those currently in existence. The party also supports the expanding the regional affordable housing program.

The Green party opposes any additional highways, and proposes highway 40 only be widened to 6 lanes in the future, not 8-10. It supports the expansion of HDLRT throughout the region.

CURRENT POLLING

The current polling in the region shows the following results per party:

  • Union: 33%
  • Progressives: 30%
  • SODEMS: 20%
  • Green: 13%
  • Other: 4%

CURRENT POLLING CHART

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POLLING TRENDS

This chart shows the trends of the 4 parties.

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As you can currently see, it is a very close race between the Union and Progressive parties right now. Stay tuned as we watch breaking-news from the election campaign and continue to monitor the polls! We're in for a wild ride.

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Public Confidence Collapse

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DARKNESS IS LURKING

Today's update comes in the form of a news article, outlining the ongoing drama involving the former vice-chair of Holt District reginonal council, and the numerous repercussions his scheme has caused throughout the region. The news article is from the region's largest daily-circulation and online papaer,Holt News. Let's go on and read...

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PUBLIC CONFIDENCE IN REGIONAL GOVERNMENT COLLAPSES

The public confidence in the Holt District regional government has collapsed following an announcement the regional chair, Robert Sims, has stepped aside following the revelations in the region’s former vice-chair testimony in court. While Robert Sims was not said to be involved in any of the illegal activities concerning the Manatee tornado recovery disaster, those close to him said he stepped aside as he “knew nothing of this situation” and that “as regional chair, Robert said it is ultimately his responsibility to know what those below him are doing.” Although it is not likely Robert Sims will face any legal action or criminal charges resulting from the situation, the departure of one of the few politicians the public perceive as “clean” has put a dent in the government’s credibility.

A recent poll by Holt News, and statistics firm Dolesaft Polling, found that following the announcement, confidence in the region fell sharply to its lowest level ever recorded. Before news of the scandal ever broke, the government had a 87% confidence rate, which fell to 76% following the news of the situation that unfolded in Manatee. It continued to slide to 64% at the start of the vice-chair’s trial. Following news of Robert Sims’ departure, the confidence rating stood at a mere 24%. This has prompted the provincial government to place the region under its direct control until the next regional election can be held.

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HOLT DISTRICT REGIONAL HEADQUARTERS BUILDING

Minister of Municipal Affairs, Angela Kirk, stated that “given the grave situation in Holt District regarding confidence in the regional government, the provincial government has taken into serious consideration taking over all administrative and council operations of the region, until the next regional and municipal elections are scheduled for later this year.”

However, some regional councillors disagree with the province’s view of the situation. A group of several councillors from the region indicated they intend to put forward a motion before regional council which will see a new interim-chair installed until the elections can be held. The group said “this will allow no provincial interference in the day-to-day operations of the government, including the granting of building permits and approval of massive development projects which keep the region moving forward.” The group went on to say that “provincial interference would result in the delay of several major projects throughout the region.” Kirk denied the claims, saying “the province would merely take over in the process of approving these projects and granting the permits” and that the province “does not plan on changing, in any major way, the course Holt District is currently on.” She went on to add that “while all regional operations will, for now, be handled by the province that residents will not see a decline in services.”

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ORCHIDSEN PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT HEADQUARTERS

The in-power provincial Liberal Party, which holds the current 3 provincial seats within Holt District’s boundary, said it will bring forth the motion to take over operations of the Holt District regional government “in the next few days” and a representative for the government said “the language of the motion is in the final steps.” Leaders of the opposition parties all agreed that this may be one of the rare cases where all parties agree. The leader of the provincial Conservative party went on to say “Holt District has proven itself the economic engine of our province in recent years, and we cannot let the actions of some corrupt politicians halt the progress and commercial activity in the region.”

Holt News will continue to bring updates as new findings around the situation arrive.

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OFFICE BUILDING COMPLEX: HOME TO PROVINCIAL LIBERAL PARTY OFFICES AND PROVINCIAL CONSERVATIVE PARTY OFFICES

As you can see, we're far from done with the tangled mess left by the former regional vice-chair... far from it...

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Something Is Lurking

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When one person sets in motion darkness, very rarely does someone else not end up tangled in the web that is left. In the case of Holt District, we’re not done with the darkness leftover from the plan between a the region’s vice-chair, an insurance company executive and developer. Oh no, we’re not done at all. You see, if there is one corrupt politician at regional headquarters, how likely is it there was only 1?

The vice-chair of the region had a lot of power over many politicians below him. And what’s to say that he couldn’t pick up some blackmail material along the way from a friend or two in the region’s police force? Or perhaps he promised some of the windfall expected to be received to those around him to get them to bend to his wishes. Perhaps there is more lurking deep within the government than we see.

And with proposals floating around to overhaul the process of electing municipal and regional governments to party-based elections, much like the provincial and federal elections… what’s to say he doesn’t have some of his allies working on thwarting that? Could he convince some provincial politicians, those who hold the key to how municipal and regional elections reform, to bend to his wishes? Afterall, it is much easier to get into power without any political-hopefuls being tied to a party. And it is much easier to excert your influence on politicians elected independently than it is across party lines.

But the vice-chair, who has been found out and is currently on trial, couldn’t have possibly had that much influence over his fellow and superior politicians. And surely, any influence has now diminished now that he is on trial and expose as a fraud and corrupt politician… right?

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You didn't expect it to disappear that easily, did you?

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It's hard to believe it has already been a year since Holt District launched. HD launched on July 27 2012. At the time, it was a humble region of under 400 000 sims. And it looked to be the peaceful place, with not many changes underway. Of course, this changed in an instant. The region experienced a massive boom in its first year under the bright lights of being a city showcase. It saw the construction of several new highways under HDHIP (Holt District Highway Improvement Project) - the construction of its first LRT line which will eventually traverse the entire region, the introduction of BoldNewHD which introduced a plan to develop Holt District into a world-class metropolis, and a whole lot more. And the vision to have Holt District turn into a world-class metro area is coming true. Today it is home to more than 1.4 million sims - that's a jump of 263% since the launch date back last July. Nevermind that, it's an increase of over 1 million sims. And it's still growing.

The first year of Holt District has been awesome. Holt District was selected Developer Diary of the year at Simmania. It was OSITM at SC4Devotion in January. It won Meg's Smorgasboard Award during the 2012 Trixies. Holt District was nominated for the most categories of any CJ or BAT during the campaign. It amassed over 1200 replies and 50 000 views. And all of this because of you. Without you Holt District wouldn't be what it is today.

:) This update will take us back on the year that has been, and take a look into what happened to each municipality. Consider it your transition into "season 2" - launching soon. So... let's continue! :)

THE HD ANNIVERSARY UPDATE

Holt District changed a lot in its first year, growing almost 300% to just above 1.4 million sims from under 400 000. The 9 municipalities each saw stellar growth, with no municipality growing below 30%. Each faced numerous developments, monumental changes and challenges. We will now take a look at what happened in each of the 9 municipalities this past year.

Sherkston saw a lot of growth this past year. As the business hub and transport hub of the region (3 key highways meet in the city) the city was bound to feel the effect of a booming region. Coupled with the intensification zone legislation that opened greenfield to highrise development, Sherkston had all the makings of a major boom. The city managed to grow a whopping 227% this year. That is despite all the suburban sprawl going on around it. The city also saw its culture scene pick up with the restoration of Fort Sherkston being completed.

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Manatee, meanwhile, also grew. Although it grew at the slowest pace of any municipality, at 36%, it underwent massive changes. The greenfields on the west end of town were opened to an ongoing condo construction project which will soon bump up the city's population. The city faced hardship when a tornado struck a huge path of destruction through the southern portion of the city, which is still recovering to this day. It was embroiled in scandal from the clean-up efforts of those citizens when the major insurance company, a developer and a corrupt politician tried to scam these citizens. Thankfully this sceme was uncovered before any damage was done. And the city is the first to get a line of the new HD LRT system. It has spurred redevelopment all along the route.

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Dofino, the northern suburb to Sherkston, grappled with changes on a scale never-before scene in the town. Once a small, sleepy village Dofino has transformed into a sprawling live/work community. The city grew from a population of under 16 000 to now almost 150 000 - a change of 848%. Many lament the loss of the small community vibe, but others note it has strengthened business in the centre of all the charm, its downtown core. The EL-Rail line that runs to Dofino will soon be converted to LRT, and connect to a new line which will lead out to the ever-building Kuhan CBD.

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Next we visit Norecount. Norecount started the year as a respectable town just south of Manatee. Serving mainly as a spill-over community to those looking to live in Manatee, it has re-invented itself. While most people who live in Norecount wish to live in Manatee, a growing number of people are moving to Norecount because of the area's new, large industrial park and easy access throughout the region, thanks to the Highway 40/Highway 23 interchange. The town is now served by the LRT line that runs through Manatee, and it is expected this line will soon be expanded. Rumour has it a massive planned community is in the works for the town... In the first year of HD Norecount grew from 17 673 sims to 92 870 - an increase of 425%.

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Old Port started the year off on the wrong foot. It was in dire need of a change in political leadership - and it eventually got one. The town decayed due to a council that essentially prohibited any change. Expansion, redevelopment, you name it, they didn't allow it. This was all to avoid the errors of the council that came before. However, they took it too far. The town's restrictions were so strict, the DSBHD almost was forced to shut down its elementary school in the town because it couldn't perform urgent structural problems. Eventually this council was forced out, and a new one installed. Old Port has begun to recover, with a planned community being constructed. Plans are underway to redevelop its waterfront park. The elementary school has been fixed. Old Port saw growth of 294% this year, its population rising from 8121 to 32023.

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Next we visit Midport. Midport was not rocked by any sort of major event or scandal, it just faced the desire of many to live on the coast. A massive condo building dominated the year that was. And after a tiny decline in population in the first census, its has been booming ever since. Plans for a new commercial district were unveiled, and along with several condo buildings under construction, a new mini business district is coming Midport's way. The coastal town saw its population rise from about 33000 to 86215 - an increase of 160%.

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Of course we can't also forget Shorecoast. Shorecoast also felt the effect of the coastal condo boom. Several mega-structured were construction housing thousands of people between them. The city has not felt any particular effect of BoldNewHD - but the LRT system could soon find itself in Shorecoast connecting to Norecount, Manatee, Sherkston and beyond... Shorecoast grew from 71494 to 98748 - a population increase of 38%.

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Next we move to Kuhan. Where to start... so much happened this past year in Kuhan. It's more like what DIDN'T happen. Kuhan saw itself no longer a tiny township. It was reincorporate into a town - going from the Township of Northwest Holt to The Town of Kuhan. It saw 2 new highways move into its boundaries. The last new EL-RAIL line was constructed, and will soon be converted to LRT. The BoldNewHD project opened the area up to massive residential developments. An amusement park opened its doors. Countless businesses opened their doors. The Kuhan CBD has started construciton. While it sits in the middle of nowhere now, it will soon find itself surrounded. A community that was once better known for flat grassy lands is now a major players in the housing and business boom going on in Holt District. And you know what's really scary? Its growth statistics. What's scarier? It wasn't the fastest growing municipality in Holt District this past year. Kuhan - the SECOND fastest growing municipality in Holt District, soared to new heights from a population of 3796 to a population 190 597. That's a jump of 4921%! And current estimates as of this post peg growth to possibly be even higher, now reaching 7000% YOY.

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Now we visit our last municipality, also the fastest growing this past year: Flynn. Like Kuhan, Flynn started the year as a rural township. Then known as the Township of Saltfield, Flynn was reincorporated as a town as a result of the November 2012 referendum, like Kuhan. BoldNewHD unleashed growth to the area. Suburban developments began to rampantly spread through the municipality. New houses, new business appeared everywhere. When industry was permitted to be developed in the region, industrial parks began spreading and sprawling. The town is the centre for sprawl. Then, a site in Flynn was selected to house the new Holt District stadium. A massive development plan around the arena ensued, further fuelling the growth of the town. If you were to visit Flynn for the first time today in over a year, you would not recognize it. It was the fastest growing muncipality in the region this past year. Its numbers are impressive and scary all at once. Ready? Okay... Flynn's populations soared from 2462 to a booming 211 028 - a growth rate of 8421%!!! It leapfrogged its way from smalled to second largest municipality in terms of population.

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And what better way than to show you the first and current region views displayed in Holt District's lifespan? I can't think of one. So here you go.

Region View, July 2012 [showcased in August]

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Region View, June 2013 [current as of Q22013 census]

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And have I mentioned it looks a whole heck of a lot different, even from this?

So I want to thank everyone who has supported Holt District in its first year. As you can see, a lot has happened in both the region and the showcase itself. I hope you will all continue to follow Holt District as it enters its second year. I have a lot planned, and assuming RL co-operates a lot to show! You will get a chance to learn more about the road ahead of Holt District in the first official update of "season 2". I once again want to thank all of you for continuing to support Holt District! It wouldn't have amassed over 50K views, 1200 comments without you. So thanks for making HD's first year so awesome!

:D:D

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Replies will be done on first season 2 update!

:)

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...AND SO IS HD'S FIRST BIRTHDAY! HD TURNS 1 TOMORROW!

To celebrate a great first year of Holt District and the "second season" launching, a reflective update and look to the future will be posted to celebrate, along with some stats from the region itself and the CJ.

This update will sadly come a day or 2 after its official birthday. BUT, good things come to those who wait... and you'll love the anniversary update.

And you never know. Maybe there will be a surprise tomorrow too.

:)