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Hancock going green, tackling development

January 10, 2008|By ERIN JULIUS

HANCOCK - Hancock is going green this year, with park and beautification projects and recycling initiatives on the town council's 2008 agenda.

Development also is an issue, Mayor Daniel A. Murphy said. The Hancock Town Council in December approved a zoning ordinance, which recently took effect.

Murphy expects a couple of annexation requests in the coming months, as well as proposals from developers.

With the new zoning ordinance and comprehensive plan in effect, Murphy hopes the town will "do developing right."

One ongoing project, completing a bridge to the ball fields at Kirkwood Park, went over budget last year because the contractors' bids were higher than engineers projected, Murphy said. Town officials plan to request more Program Open Space money, Murphy said.

Work recently began on the project, and Murphy said he hopes the bridge is completed this year.

A pavilion purchased for Joseph Hancock Jr. Park will also be built this year, Murphy said. Restroom improvements also will be made at the park, he said.

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Completing the pavilion also was on Town Councilman Maurice "Rusty" Wheeler's list of projects to finish in 2008.

Wheeler also wants to finish the bridge at Kirkwood Park "so the kids can get back in there," he said.

Breathed Park in the middle of town needs to be made more user-friendly this year, Town Councilman Sinclair Hamilton said.

"It's like a solar oven in the summer," Hamilton said. He would like to see more landscaping and shade at the park.

The council also will continue to develop Main Street, Murphy said.

Hamilton said he also wants to concentrate on developing Main Street and educating residents about historic preservation. Focusing on the downtown will make Hancock more appealing to tourists and businesses, he said.

The Hancock Arts Council, which Hamilton chairs, promotes activities in Hancock. In the coming year, Hamilton would like to see a summer drama camp for children established at the newly renovated stage in Town Hall. More work needs to be done for the stage this year, including lights, new curtains, a sound system, and floor refinishing work, Hamilton said.

Hamilton also would like to launch a summer music in the park series at the new bandstand built last year in Widmeyer Park, he said.

Hancock also needs routine maintenance on some waterlines, Murphy and Wheeler said.

Keeping the police department equipment upgraded also is a priority, Wheeler said.

Hancock also will continue what Murphy refers to as a "green initiative." Town officials will try to focus more on recycling efforts, and explore ways to make the town more environmentally sound, he said.

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