Thursday, January 11, 2007

Civic energy crackles in Hillsdale

For a community that has no formal government, no independent status, no regular funding and no assured support from the city, Hillsdale has a civic agenda that is worthy of any incorporated, self-governing community.

It was all on display last night when 15 of us met as the Hillsdale Alliance, a quarterly check-in on what our Hillsdale organizations are up to.

We represented the neighborhood association, the business community, school administrations and PTAs, high school student groups, the library, the farmers market and others.

The list of activities was staggeringly ambitious.

Students at Wilson are organizing a diversity cultural night for April 21st.

St. Andrews Church, other congregations and Neighborhood House are planning a huge food drive called Southwest Hope.

The neighborhood association is holding planning charrettes to create a civic plaza with solar paneled roofing. And efforts are moving ahead for a new community garden in Stephens Creek Park.

Wilson High School is using volunteers and students to develop a campus master plan.

The Farmers Market will hold a fund-raising Winter Feast on Feb. 18.

Neighborhood House has convened quarterly meetings with Southwest religious leaders.

Efforts are underway to bring a summer concert to the amphi-theatre bowl behind Rieke Elementary School.

Volunteer emergency responders are being trained as Neighborhood Emergency Teams (NETS) to assist if a disaster, such as an earthquake or terrorist attack, strikes.

The Rieke school community continues to bolster enrollment, all in an effort to ward off closure by the school district. School advocates report that their main selling point is the strength of the Hillsdale neighborhood.

Students at Robert Gray are rehearsing for their production of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." Meanwhile, plans for the school's annual multi-cultural fair (Feb 27th) move forward.

The Hillsdale Alliance itself is working on establishing a Hillsdale Community Foundation that will help pay for future projects. The Alliance also is working on setting up its own news web site.

Volunteer work crews will start clearing out ivy in Himes Park this month.

And lobby groups are inviting City Commissioners on tours here in hopes that the City will help with much of the above...and stop planting utility poles in our sidewalks (yes, it's happening again!)

Not be forgotten, if you have a half hour to spare, leaders have organized a candle-light protest of the escalation of American involvement in Iraq...tonight, 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the corner of Sunset and Capitol Highway.

Where in this famously vibrant city is more happening than in Hillsdale?

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