Volunteer groups raise money for UH city hall

University Heights residents connect with one another when they walk their dogs, shop in local markets or greet their neighbors. They also connect when they volunteer their time, energy and talent to one of the many organizations that serve our city.

This year, two volunteer groups—the City Beautiful Commission (CBC) and the Memorial Day Parade Committee raised more than $5,800 for the city. Under the leadership of former Councilman Steve Bennett, CBC reorganized itself into a vibrant and successful volunteer group. They raised a record $1,632 from their most recent fundraiser.

CBC took on several new projects this year. One of these was the CH-UH Library. Bennett initiated an outreach project by inviting Aurora Martinez, branch manager, to a meeting in April to explore how the commission could assist with plantings in front of the University Heights Library. The volunteers not only had good ideas, but also turned them into reality. The Hubman family donated perennials from their home garden and, together with Janice Lindner and Steve Bennett, planted new flowerbeds at the entrance of the library.

Another new project for CBC originated with a request from Mayor Infeld for help to improve the appearance of the city-owned property on the southeast corner of Silsby and Saybrook. CBC will soon submit its plans to help upgrade the appearance of that neglected property.

CBC’s annual highlight is the Beautiful Home Awards—24 awards in the following five categories: Curb Appeal, Best Kept Secret, Sit-A-Spell, Front Door and Eco Garden. CBC volunteers canvas the neighborhoods, excluding their own, and nominate candidates for the honors. Any resident may make nominations by calling city hall.

Steve Bennett initiated a new e-mail voting system this year. CBC members can view the photos of the nominated homes and then submit their choices. Janice Lindner, Karen Wooley, Aaron Canowitz, John Reebel and Steve Bennett organized this year’s awards ceremony, which occurred on Oct. 12. Look for the signs o the winning homes on lawns around town, and then see the happy homeowners marching in University Heights’s annual Memorial Day Parade in 2012.

Everyone loves a parade and the 45th Annual Memorial Day Parade last May was one of the best attended in recent memory, according to folks who’ve attended more than a few. The festivities

included several "firsts." The biggest first was the size of the planning committee—around 40 residents volunteered! With so many people from all parts of the city contributing their fresh ideas and energy, the 45th is the one all future parades will be measured against.

Planners added a street fair and a stage where local talent had the opportunity to perform. The Memorial Day Parade Program Book raised over $4,000 for the city. Local merchants were thrilled to have their ads reach thousands of households—by mail and by distribution at local businesses.

This November, I remain thankful that I live in University Heights. Thank you to all the residents who help make this a great city—one home at a time, one act of community support at a time.

Help keep our city beautiful. Join the City Beautiful Commission, today.

Anita Kazarian

Anita Kazarian is a marketing professional, president of Noah’s Landing, and a longtime resident of University Heights. Contact her at anitakazarian@gmail.com.

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Volume 4, Issue 11, Posted 11:39 AM, 10.25.2011