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City Commission Addresses Plans for Park, Arbor Day, Mental Health Month

Huntington Woods officials vote to recognize Arbor Day and Mental Health Month, in addition to offering suggestions for the reconstruction of Burton Park.

The City Commission met Tuesday evening addressing issues of the city, primarily upcoming plans for Huntington Woods.

Burton Community Park

Lauren Hirsch, of the PTA and Friends of , presented plans and photos for the new playground envisioned for the park. Local residents also attended the meeting and vouched as fundraisers and supporters of the project.

The group explained its goal of raising $500,000 and while Mayor Ronald Gillham noted its February 2013 deadline was steep, he and Council members expressed interest and support. Councilman Jeff Jenks offered suggestions of grants that might be available and also constructive criticism about planning for ample seating for seniors who bring grandchildren.

“I’d love to see you think about, when that is put in if I can be set in such a way that an at-surface water park could be placed there,” Jenks added.

Hirsch said plans are contingent on funds raised and Councilman Jules Olsman chimed in jokingly saying, “I think Mr. Jenks was offering to hold a fundraiser. Talk is cheap, as they say, my friend.”

Councilwoman Mary White confirmed that an environmental expert should be planned for and also areas suitable for kids of different sizes, to help prevent injury. As of now, the park will address various interests and children ages 5-12, according to Susan Witus, a Huntington Woods resident helping with the project.

“I’m really impressed, there was a lot of effort and good planning,” White told the group.

Gillham wished them luck for all the work they have ahead and said “it pays to be optimistic.” Council ended by inviting them back in six months for an update.

City proclamations

Council agreed to declare the month of May as “Mental Health Month” in Huntington Woods and also set April 27 as Arbor Day in the city.

“It’s a good month,” White said about the proclamations, adding the accomplishment that Huntington Woods was named a Tree City USA again this year.

“What’s important to note is that mental health is just as important as physical health. Unfortunately we’ve had so many cuts in mental health, we need to make sure we can do more for people who need help,” White added.

2012-13 budget

Council voted to receive public comment for the proposed budget next year at the May 1 commission meeting. The meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Commission Chambers of the and budget information can be found at the or City Office.

Other motions

Other motions by council were to eliminate the Traffic Control Committee now that the city has no more open intersections, authorize retroactive expenses of the reconstruction of Coolidge Highway prior to the sale of municipal bonds, and to adopt the agreement of cost-sharing with Oak Park for the left turn lane of Coolidge Highway.

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