It's almost time for the Arlington Heights Civic Association's annual election meeting. It's coming up Tuesday, January 23, at 7:30 pm at Patrick Henry Elementary School in the library. I'm not planning to run for reelection this year. I've thoroughly enjoyed being president over the last two years, and plan to stay actively involved with the civic association. I'm proud of the direction taken and accomplishments made during my terms. I think the association has done a great job preserving many of the things we all love about the neighborhood, as well as establishing and reaching towards a vision of how we'd like to see the neighborhood evolve in the future. I hope to keep contributing to this process, as I think the association is a powerful way to focus our voices and be heard on issues affecting our neighborhood. I plan to work closely with the next president, whoever he or she may be, to transition responsibility and ensure that the association stays on top of all the current issues we face. My understanding from the nominating committee is that we don't have a current candidate for president, so if you're interested in being president, taking on any of the other officer roles, or just getting more involved in AHCA, please contact me and/or the nominating committee.
Aside from elections, we have a very full agenda for the upcoming meeting. First, Lisa Grandle and Patrick Wegeng will be there to discuss plans for the new park space in the southeast corner of Thomas Jefferson Middle School, made available by the deconstruction of the houses at the corner of 2nd and Irving. There currently isn't money in the park department's budget for major improvements to the area, but we will see two proposed designs of what could immediately be done with the site given a limited budget. Both designs include putting in benches and paved paths, while keeping the natural character of the site intact by maintaining almost all of the existing trees and adding new ones.
We will also be discussing the neighborhood's vision for the future of the Career Center site. The school board has appointed a multi-site study committee to look at the schools' utilization of many of its properties. The Arlington Mill Community Center is currently in the design phase for a public-private redevelopment partnership. Many neighborhood-supported community benefits are being added, thanks in part to money available as a result of this partnership. One of the things the multi-site committee is exploring is whether a similar partnership might make sense for the Career Center. One citizen committee member has approached Safeway to see whether they would be interested in a partnership at the site, with the caveat that the neighborhood would have to support it before it could move forward. Safeway has expressed some initial interest. We will discuss whether this idea, or another public-private partnership might be something the neighborhood could support in exchange for community benefits.
Recently, there was a lot of discussion on our neighborhood email list about the towing practices at Westmont Shopping Center. The Columbia Heights Civic Association has also had discussions on this issue. Their civic association contacted me about whether we would be interested in jointly writing the county, the property owners, and the tenants, in order to engage them about modifying their practices to be more consumer friendly. A representative for Columbia Heights will be at the meeting to add their perspective, while we discuss what action is appropriate.
We were scheduled to have representatives from the county fair back at this meeting to futher address some issues that were discussed at the October meeting. However, instead, we've decided to form a task force made up of representatives from Arlington Heights, county staff, and the fair board. This task force is intended to meet a number of times before our April meeting to address neighborhood concerns such as opening the midway part of the fair a day early, what programming might be located at the new park, and the shuttle route. This will be a small group that will have a large impact on the outcome of these fair related issues. Please contact me if you're interested in serving on this task force. In particular we need nearby neighbors who will be impacted by the shuttle routes to provide their input before a decision is made.
Finally, I have a couple of announcements. I have information and applications for Arlington Teacher of the Year if anyone is interested in making a nomination. The deadline is January 26th. Please contact me if you're interested. Additionally, applications for the Missing Links program are due by January 31st. The Missing Links program is designed to connect existing sidewalks with gaps in front of three or fewer homes. If you're aware of any potential areas in Arlington Heights where this program may apply, please contact Tony Halloin (firstname.lastname@example.org) well ahead of the deadline.
I'd like to thank you all for allowing me to represent you over the past two years as president. It has been very rewarding to see the power of our collective voice at work. I hope to see you at the upcoming meeting, and around the neighborhood.