Highwood fills planters

STAFF WRITER - Pioneer Press

One of the first big summer projects for Our Town Highwood takes place Sunday morning as volunteers and interested community residents turn out to plant flowers and clean the business district.

This city beautification project also offers some opportunity for low-cost private home improvement with the event's partner Mutual Ace Hardware. Other events are on the Our Town summer schedule such as the raffle of a PT Cruiser automobile, along with other prizes, at Highwood Days, a weekly farmers market, and concerts in the park.

"We want to put out 50 planters," said Our Town Highwood Executive Director Larry Sassorossi. "The city has bought the geraniums."

Volunteers will place containers throughout the business district, fill them with soil and plant the flowers. "It's a family event," he said. Children are welcome to help pot the plants.

"Families can just show up," said Gary Cohn, an Our Town Highwood Board member. "They do not have to pre-register."

Green up

Highwood Clean Up and Green Up Day is from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday and everyone can gather at the Highwood METRA Train Station, rain or shine. During those same hours, people who present a flyer advertising the event can purchase for $10 a gallon of premium Tru-Value Paint.

"They can bring it back to Mutual Ace Hardware for color mixing for free," said Cohn.

"We worked out a joint venture with Ace," said Sassorossi. "They're giving us all the (True Value Hardware) paint so we can sell it."

Our Town Highwood now has 500 gallons of paint to sell for $10 a gallon. In turn, the owners of Mutual Ace Hardware are hoping to draw attention to their new name, no longer Mutual True Value Home Center, at their location on Skokie Valley and Half Day roads.

Sassorossi said the paint is excellent and a good price. "This averages $22 a gallon," he said.

Gaining strength

Our Town Street Highwood has been gaining strength this year with an influx of new board members, organization members, and project volunteers, according to Sassorossi. A major factor was the commitment of $1,000 a month by the city to help pay expenses. "In April 2002, we had our first annual meeting. We got six new board members," he said. "With new people on the board, it is getting exciting."

Plus, many others have joined as members and signed on as volunteers. Sassorossi said both city officials and Chamber of Commerce members continue to be supportive and helpful. People getting involved come from Highwood, Lake Bluff and Highland Park.

Tom Scopelliti is the president and Lynn Combs and Rachele Wright serve as Vice-President. City Council member Lisa M. Cervac is an ex-officio member serving as a liaison.

Sassorossi said Our Town Highwood is doing well. "In Our Town you bring together three groups: the business community, the city, and the community at large," he said. "I think people are taking pride in the area."

Cohn said, "They want their community to look nice."

Even though he lives in the Town of Fort Sheridan, Cohn said he spends time in Highwood at restaurants and stores where he buys household goods. He intends to be very active with Our Town Highwood, has established their web site, and is helping with projects such as cleaning south beach on Lake Michigan.

Already, Our Town Highwood is promoting Highwood Days later this summer. "At Highwood Days we're going to raffle-off our PT Cruiser or $10,000 in cash," Sassorossi said. "It's 10 bucks a ticket and three for $20."

Cohn said other prizes are offered. A digital camera and a DVD player can be won. Tickets can be purchased and there is a form on their web site which can be mailed to them with a check. The site is www.ILoveHighwood.com.

OurTown Highwood, Inc. Info


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