Perfectly Planned Interview: Carol Buchanan, Hilton Neighborhood Association President

Carol Buchanan is a dedicated leader in our community.  She is the President of Maplewood’s Hilton Neighborhood Association, a 125-member organization.

Carol

 Carol is a retired school librarian and lives with her husband Jim and her mother Mildred. She has lived in the Hilton area for over 30 years.

W. S. Hughes: When was the Hilton Neighborhood Association (HNA) created?

Carol Buchanan: The HNA was formed 14 years ago as a result of community action to maintain an integrated Hilton neighborhood. Vic DeLuca, our current Mayor, was the HNA’s first president.

W. S. Hughes: What is the mission of the HNA?

Carol Buchanan:The HNA is dedicated to building a community that is attractive and safe, valuing the racial and cultural diversity of our neighborhood, promoting the quality of local cultural and educational institutions, and maintaining the property values of our homes.

W. S. Hughes:  When does HNA meet and what events do you host?

Carol Buchanan:We meet the third Thursday of every month and our meetings are open to the public.  You don’t have to be a member to attend.

We have social events such as our annual summer movie night in the park. We also have Dinner at the Diner, healthy heart walks with healthy refreshments, and our Dehart Park Saturday morning clean-ups.

W. S. Hughes: What are some of the topics of the HNA meetings?

Carol Buchanan:During the past year we invited Mark Caserta of 3r Living in Maplewood Village to our meeting to educate us about greening our homes.

We receive an annual update from Police Chief Cimino about his department’s new programs and the issues facing Maplewood at the time.

Every October we hold a Township Committee Candidates Forum so that people can familiarize themselves with the candidates’ positions and ask them questions.  This year it will be held on October 15th at 7:30 at DeHart.  We hold a similar forum in March for the Board of Education candidates.

W. S. Hughes: What neighborhood issues have you addressed at past meetings?

Carol Buchanan:One important current issue is redevelopment.  Our neighborhood is mainly small single-family homes, and we want to make sure that redevelopment projects do not destroy the character of our neighborhood.  So we invite developers to discuss their plans at our monthly meetings.  We invited the Walgreens developers to describe their plans for Hilton at last November’s meeting.

W. S. Hughes: The HNA has an upcoming meeting.  When is it, and what is this meeting about?

Carol Buchanan:Our next meeting is on Thursday, Sept 17th at 7:30 at DeHart Community Center, 120 Burnett Avenue.  It’s our monthly meeting.

This meeting will have two main topics on the agenda.  The first part will be about the Sustainability Grant that the Township recently received, and how it might help residents make environmental improvements to their homes. Township Committee members Fred Profeta and Kathy Leventhal will explain the details about the grant.

Dr. Barbara Velazquez will be speaking during the second part of the meeting about an exciting upcoming Seton Hall conference on October 10th called “Visions of a Better World.”  The conference is endorsed by Mayor Vic DeLuca and the Maplewood Chamber of Commerce and is designed to share a range of inspiring, dynamic yet practical and fun things to make our world a better place. www.suntfprograms.iwarp.com

W. S. Hughes 2009: Does Hilton Neighborhood Association collect yearly dues?  If so, what are the dues used for?

Carol Buchanan:Yes, we do. Our dues are used for the printing and mailing of our monthly newsletter, and to make donations to local organizations.   We donate money to the Township’s Welfare Department for needy families during Thanksgiving for example.  We also support organizations, such as the Achieve Tutoring Program and the First Aid Squad.

Dues also cover the expenses of our meetings.  When we have a movie in the park we distribute free popcorn, and when we have musicians perform we give a small stipend.

To join HNA, a single annual membership is $12. It’s $18 for a family, and $10 for a senior.  For further details send an inquiry to the email: cabms@aol.com.  Visit the Neighborhood Coalition on Race for more information about HNA: www.twotowns.org/hilton

© 2010 W. S. Hughes

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