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Conrady Students Address City Leaders

Conrady Call to Action

Their calls to action were passionate and well thought out. There were pleas for community gardens, improved snow removal, cameras to deter graffiti at public parks and the installment of new sidewalks to replace deteriorating ones throughout the city.

Fortunately, for this group of Conrady sixth graders, those listening to their calls to action included two people with the power to get the conversation started: Hickory Hills Mayor Mike Howley and Hickory Hills Park District Director Jennifer Fullerton.

The two attended a recent event in which students as part of their civics class were asked to research a topic within the city and propose a solution. Some of the topics and solutions likely required raising taxes (new sidewalks and cameras at parks) while others simply required volunteers (community gardens).

Adrian Gunka suggested people volunteer to work in community gardens throughout the city in an effort to provide fruits and vegetables to those people who might need a little assistance. “We just need a few empty lots, some seeds and volunteers to work in these gardens,” Adrian said.

Weronika Milewski called for replacing deteriorating sidewalks and to trim and remove bushes that are blocking sidewalks from pedestrians. Weronika referenced a study that showed 62 percent of people preferred riding bikes on sidewalks than in the street. “Damaged sidewalks are very dangerous,” she said. “People trip over raised sidewalks and large cracks.”

Weronika suggested people could send donations to the city of Hickory Hills to offset the cost of installing new sidewalks.

Madelyn Boettinger called for the need for more public art throughout the city. “Art sparks conversation and it touches the human spirit,” she said. “I’d love to see the city create an art club and we could display the art in public libraries and city hall.”

Tahani Saleh said she’d like to see more cameras at public parks to help deter graffiti that is scrawled across playgrounds. Tahani said the park district could perhaps sell some outdated equipment and other things to raise money for the new cameras.

Parks Director Fullerton agreed, saying the district has purchased cameras to reduce the amount of graffiti and other damage at parks. But cameras cost money. She said the park district receives 30 percent of its revenues through local taxes and the remaining 70 percent through user fees.

“Vandalism is the biggest problem we have at parks,” she said. “We’re always looking at ways to prevent that.”

Mayor Howley and Director Fullerton thanked the students for their suggestions and said they would take them under consideration.

 Weronika Milewski