Former parks employee receives Bricker Award
Ten years after the death of a Hilltop resident who took great pride in the beautification of the Hilltop and especially Westgate Park, a group of residents has revived an award in her honor.
Friends of Westgate Park (FOWP) presented the Betty Bricker award at the Greater Hilltop Area Commission meeting to Mark A. Young, who had worked with residents to form FOWP a couple of years ago. Young had been the assistant director of Recreation and Parks in the city of Columbus.
“We appreciate Mark’s work at Westgate Park and all the parks on the Hilltop,” said GHAC member Lisa Grazier who is also president of FOWP.
Young lost his position with Recreation and Parks in the financial cutbacks earlier this year and now works with an environmental company out of Bloomington, Ind. He still has fond memories of the Westgate area.
“It’s good to be back,” said Young, who still maintains a residence on the north side of Columbus.
He said he had visited Westgate Park before he and his wife came to the Hilltop Library for the GHAC meeting.
“I took a tour of the park,” he said. “It’s unbelievable.”
Grazier explained that Betty Bricker was a community activist and took pride in her neighborhood and the park. After her death, flower beds were created near the open shelter and pond at Westgate Park and a bench inscribed with her name has been added.
“A couple of my neighbors have adopted the flower beds,” said GHAC member Sue Laughlin who serves as vice president of FOWP.
“Those women have planted and tended to the flowers in those beds as well as the surrounding area.”
“A lot of work was done on the Betty Bricker beds,” Young said. “It’s all about community. I’m proud and honored to have been involved.””
Bricker passed away in 1999. An award in her name had been given out for a couple of years, and then became dormant.
Grazier said it was fitting the award was being revived to commemorate the 10th anniversary of her death.
Although praise was heaped on Young and community residents who have worked to maintain the appearance at Westgate Park, another Hilltop area resident asked that the same effort be expended to other parks in the area.
Frederick Gabriel was complaining about Hilltonia Park, which he said had high weeds and that the fence rows had not been trimmed.
He said he contacted the city and was told the area would be tended to in September.
“Why can’t they cut weeds in May and July?” he asked. “Why wait until September? They are a health issue. What he (Young) did for Westgate is really nice. Why can’t we have that at other parks?”
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