With this being the Journal’s final issue of 2010, we wanted to take a look at what we think the future might hold for us all in 2011. After all, what better way to usher in a New Year than with a dose of hope, a smattering of humor and a few wishes for the impossible to become reality? With that being said, here are a few ideas and predictions for the coming year that we hope will get folks looking ahead, and maybe trigger a chuckle or two along the way:

We predict that by the end of 2011, the skeleton of the Stinson building will finally disappear from the Belfast waterfront. That, of course, begs the question of what will take its place? We’re open to suggestions, but our vote is for a giant water slide.

In the interest of keeping such a development in line with existing structures in the neighborhood, the water slide would need careful consideration from the In-Town Design Review Committee, which we predict would recommend, in light of the blue color of the slide, the addition of matching corrugated metal facing to maintain visual consistency with the Penobscot McCrum cold storage building on Federal Street.

The scent of cooking potatoes that often wafts over the waterfront from McCrum’s factory would give the development a festive fairground air, while the water slide would make up for the fact that Belfast has no bowling alley.

Speaking of city properties begging to be redeveloped, what might 2011 bring for the old Crosby School? The building has been pitched as a potential performing arts venue, but the idea has been contentious enough that we’d rather see something everybody can get behind: Walmart.

The historic façade of the beloved former high school would help the big box store fit into the surrounding neighborhood. As a concession, the city might have to seize several blocks worth of buildings directly behind the school to make space for the Supercenter, including the county property slated for a new Emergency Management Agency and Sheriff’s Office building. Change is hard, but consider this. Aside from offering tire rotations, haircuts and locally produced potato wedges, our Wal-Mart could be the first ever to include a Superreentrycenter.

Should Waldo County be on the front lines of the offshore wind revolution? Sure. And the casino revolution? OK. Considered together, these two ballot-worn items start to look promising. How about the state’s first offshore, wind-powered casino, located 50 miles due south of Searsport. To get there, take the Penobscot Marine Museum’s historic, reconditioned coal-burning steamboat ferry from the parking lot at the far end of the Sears Island access road.

In the bigger picture, the state could solve its budget woes not by cutting necessary services to people in dire need, or by increasing the tax burden, but by getting back to basics. Can you imagine how impressive a benefit yard sale would look against the backdrop of the Statehouse? Or how about a bake sale? Our school districts have been doing it for years to make ends meet on the local level.

We bet there are some folks in Augusta who have killer cookie recipes that could fetch a good price, and newly elected State Senator Michael Thibodeau could put his ice cream making skills — previously reserved for photo ops — to good use. Suggested flavors include fresh-churned rocky road, chocolate chip spending dough and Efficiency Maine espresso fudge.

These projections, of course, are intended for a laugh. After surviving a powerful blizzard, not to mention the holidays, and with the new year on the horizon, we felt it was high time to have a little fun — lightening up is good for the soul, after all. As the astutely absurd children’s book author Roald Dahl once said, “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.”

On a serious note, we’re sure 2011 will bring its share of surprises, some of them stranger than the fictions we’ve offered here. We’re looking forward to seeing you there.