City Spotlight: Hamilton Parks Conservancy

City Spotlight: Hamilton Parks Conservancy

Hamilton Parks Conservancy has had a busy 2017. They’ve spent the year updating some of the many neighborhood parks – Hamilton has 17, by the way. They’ve also added new playscapes to 6 parks, including Booker T. Washington Community Center’s new splashpad and playset. They’ve spent countless hours maintaining our parks and rec facilities (41 spaces, at last count). And, as a big bonus for the Hamilton Community, 2017 saw the grand opening of two new parks in the downtown area.

Marcum Park spent its inaugural summer as home to the Hamilton Flea. The two water features offer cool summer fun, and food trucks a-plenty surround the park. The public restroom behind RiversEdge amphitheater saw a few upgrades too: a new drinking fountain (for people AND dogs) and a bicycle repair station. And just two blocks away, High Street’s Rotary park also opened in 2017. Not only is this a nice green space for downtown workers, but it is also a popular space during local events like Operation Pumpkin and Alive After 5.

Big Goals for 2018

The Parks Conservancy team, lead by Director Steve Timmer, has truly had a banner year. After all that, it would be easy for them to kick up their feet and take a well-deserved winter break. But, while the cold weather drives us inside and out of the parks, this is when the real work of the Parks Conservancy begins.

Winter is the rebuilding season for the Parks Conservancy. This is the time of year that they pre-order materials and equipment that keep our many parks functioning. They demo and remove old or damaged equipment, and make way for the new. The conference room of the Parks Conservancy offices on 2nd Street looks like a war room: schematics of parks, equipment that is on-order, and planned purchases cover the table, hang on boards and paper the walls. Everything in the room screams: we’ve got work to do!

 

Winter Projects

So, how does the Parks Conservancy spend the fall and winter months? The first step is winterizing the public restrooms, irrigations and pumps. This is also the time that they can tackle remodeling restrooms or building a new Maintenance Building. They’re adding new signage to Marcum Park and a “Live Your Dream” sculpture at Joyce Park. They also clean up landscaping with re-edging and new mulch. In other words, they start preparing for the next parks season.

After all of the huge undertakings of 2017, the Parks Conservancy is gearing up for a busy 2018. This coming year, they will be placing an additional 12 new playscapes and equipment. Many of these will be placed in neighborhoods on the West Side of Hamilton. They hope to have all of these in place by May 2018. It’s an aggressive target, but they want the playgrounds for when school gets out for the summer.

 

The Future Looks Bright

And the Parks Conservancy has their eyes on the future. With two new parks, and tons of new equipment, they can start to focus on bigger goals. Timmer wants to have some programs available in Marcum Park, like after-work leagues. Movie nights in the park will definitely be a welcome addition to Hamilton’s summer entertainment. Also on the wish list? Developing an annual endowment to make sure we will have funds in the future to replace and update equipment as needed.

When asked about more long-term goals for the Parks Conservancy, Timmer doesn’t hesitate. He wants to focus more on beautification efforts in the parks and green spaces. We don’t know about you, but we think they already do a wonderful job making our city a beautiful place to live, work and play.

Hamilton City Schools: Top 5 Resident Educators

Hamilton City Schools: Top 5 Resident Educators

Being a teacher is no easy task. You are educator, mentor, caregiver, disciplinarian, and friend all at once. And starting a career as a teacher, entrusted with young minds, is even more daunting. That’s why the Ohio Department of Education developed the Ohio Resident Educator Program. This 4-year program helps beginning teachers on their first steps of a career in education. During year 3, teachers complete a Resident Educator Summative Assessment (RESA). Over 2,900 Year 3 Resident Educators in the state of Ohio underwent this assessment this year. And we are Hamilton Proud to report that 5 of our own Hamilton City School teachers achieved scores in the top 100.

The RESA is a pretty intense undertaking, with lots of self-evaluation and reflection. Lessons are created and recorded on video. Additionally, they need to provide data that shows their students are learning and growing. Last, but definitely not least, they need to have a two-way conversation with a parent that improved a students’ achievement. And of course, all of the teachers need to provide evidence to support this entire assessment. The amount of time, effort, focus, tears, encouragement and pure determination it took to complete this massive undertaking cannot be measured.

Top 5 Resident Educators

We wanted to take a moment to celebrate these teachers and their achievements. Here they also share what makes them Hamilton Proud.

  • Sandi Roberts, Title Teacher at Crawford Elementary: “I am Hamilton Proud of the supports provided to me that help my students learn to read. There’s no better feeling than building the reading foundation in students. This is the only year my students will be in kindergarten so this year MUST count.”
  • Casey Blanton, MD Teacher at Linden Elementary: “The staff in our building are so willing to work with me and my students so they can experience a more well-rounded education. My students feel like a true part of Linden Elementary!”
  • Tara Strong, Second Grade Teacher at Riverview Elementary: “The support and encouragement I’ve received from all of my colleagues at Riverview – they make me feel like I CAN every day!”
  • Alyssa Montgomery, ESL Teacher at Riverview Elementary: “My Riverview family has been there from Day 1 helping me to accomplish this top honor!”
  • Cassie Davis, ESL Teacher at Riverview Elementary: “My students make me Hamilton Proud. They are AMAZING and they shatter stereotypes in EVERY WAY!”

Hamilton City School District students are clearly in good hands. Of course, these teachers represent only a small percentage of the staff and administrators who spend every day working with and for our students. And all of them together is what makes us Hamilton Proud.

City Spotlight: Fort Hamilton Hospital

City Spotlight: Fort Hamilton Hospital

Spend one day in Hamilton, and it will be obvious: Hamilton is a community that supports one another. Every day, we see overwhelming generosity and support from our community. And this spirit of giving is as alive today as it was nearly a century ago.

In 1929, a citizen-led effort to establish a new hospital in the city started Fort Hamilton Hospital. Over 8,000 residents donated to the cause and raised over $500,000 in less than two weeks! Clearly, we haven’t strayed far from our roots. Today, Fort Hamilton continues to repay the generosity and support of the community that helped them get off the ground.

For nearly 90 years, Fort Hamilton Hospital has been leading the way to better health in the Butler County area. In 2010, Fort Hamilton joined the Kettering Health Network. The hospital has been able to make significant updates to their facilities with this network, along with gifts from the community. They have expanded and remodeled the Carruthers Emergency Department and added state-of-the-art imaging and surgical equipment. They’ve also updated their Family Birthplace. Now, even the newest members of our community are getting premiere treatment.

And on a daily basis, the Hospital looks for ways to support our community. They partner with many of our local businesses to provide health screenings. They also host tons of community events. Last February, their Heart of Hamilton event offered a free 10-minute heart check and a $10 cholesterol blood test. In the same way, October’s “Pink Around the Square” celebrated Breast Cancer Awareness Month and offered pink Flub’s ice cream (some of the last of the season!) along with health information and mammogram scheduling.

As we enter the holiday season, Fort Hamilton is bringing back its annual Lights of Love display. A group of volunteer ambassadors and fundraisers, the Colleagues, began Lights of Love in 1986. Over 30 years later, this holiday tradition lives on. This spectacular display honors loved ones who “light up your life.” Each light represents a donation dedicated to honor or memorialize an individual, family or group. Since its inception, Lights of Love has raised over $200,000 to support the hospital and community.

The lighting ceremony takes place on Sunday, December 3 at 6:30 PM. Come see the hospital light up and also enjoy holiday music. Lights can be sponsored for $5 each, or 7 for $30. There are also a limited number of snowflakes available for $100 each. The Hospital gift shop will be open during this event as well.

Hamilton is going to be bustling with the holiday spirit this weekend. After you’ve shopped at Christkindlmarkt and explored our historic German Village with the German Village Christmas Walk, head over to Fort Hamilton Hospital. This beacon of light in our community will be shining brighter than ever for the holidays. Come to Hamilton for the Holidays – our whole community is celebrating the season!

Music on Main: A Holiday Music Fest

Music on Main: A Holiday Music Fest

On Friday, the Main Street Association in Hamilton hosted their annual Music on Main. From B Street to Eaton Avenue, Main Street was the place to be. You could call it a shop-hop or a music fest, but Friday night was really a huge Hamilton party. Shops and businesses opened their doors and music filled the streets. In addition, food trucks and pop-up coffee and hot chocolate vendors were around every corner. And what holiday party would be complete without a visit from Old Saint Nick himself? With all of the new businesses on Main, we tried to visit as many shops as we could!

Pet Wants is one of the newest additions to the Main Street family. Without a doubt, their debut at Music on Main did not disappoint! Kyle LeMaster & The Honky-Tonk Heroes had the entire shop swaying while they shopped gourmet pet treats. As an added surprise, there were treats for people too! Yield Coffee Roasters had a pop-up counter where they served coffee and hot chocolate with toasted marshmallows.

On the other side of Main Street, Future Great Comics had rotating performers serenading shoppers as they entered the shop: Better Together Duo, Bubbleteakitty and Rogue.Lily. Inside, among the comics, art and collectibles, you were greeted by puppies! The Animal Adoption Foundation came with some adoption-ready dogs for the crowds to love on. There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than cuddling with those cuties!

The celebration continued throughout Main Street. Across the street at True West, Hamilton favorites Circle It and Off Black treated audiences to rocking performances. The scene at The Studio was just as hopping. While many people painted their own ceramic masterpieces, a DJ hosted dancing and karaoke in the back. From down the street, we heard the trumpet soloist at Main Look Salon trilling Holiday classics.

And, of course, Santa was close by as well! Main Street transformed a currently vacant building into a holiday wonderland. Inside, Santa was surrounded by beautifully decorated Christmas trees. He greeted children one by one and sent them off with candy canes.

Overall, it was a magical evening of music and family fun. If you weren’t able to experience Music on Main for yourself, TV Hamilton created a quick video of the festivities. This is an annual event, so you’ll want to make sure you mark your calendars for next year!

Fleaz Navidad!

Fleaz Navidad!

The vendor booths are crowded with artisanal soaps and bright bath bombs. Beautiful handmade jewelry, screen printed t-shirts and hand-crafted knickknacks all sit under crowded tents. People are lined up at food trucks that line the streets and kids squeal as they dash through the fountain. This was the scene every second Saturday at the Hamilton Flea this summer. But before we have time to get nostalgic about the warm weather and the family fun at Marcum Park, the Flea is back with an early Christmas present for Hamilton.

Hamilton Flea is unveiling their first annual Holiday Flea: Fleaz Navidad on December 9th. Opting for an evening event, the flea market will take place on the German Village Plaza (300 block of North Third Street) from 5-9 PM. There you can shop for everyone on your gift list among the holiday lights and decorations of Hamilton’s Historic German Village.

This special edition flea is free and open to the public. Vendors you know and love will be there with your favorite items. And because we’re all in the holiday spirit, you can enjoy music and seasonal beverages on the plaza while you get your flea on!

Lauren Smallwood, founder of the Hamilton Flea and Community Champion, promises “our same Hamilton Flea vibe, with a touch of holiday cheer!”

Be sure to mark your calendars for this special edition holiday flea on the #secondsaturday of December! See the flyer below for additional information.