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Seven elementary school students staged a peaceful protest outside the doors of Ridgeville Park District at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 14. Holding sleds over their heads, the young protesters chanted, “We need a hill! We need a hill!”
The children were protesting the potential loss of a bunny sledding hill on the east side of the building. The top of the bunny hill was recently paved with concrete to provide a stage at that location. Brian Rosinski, director of Ridgeville’s Department of Parks and Recreation, told the RoundTable that location had been used as the stage for a Shakespeare play, and the Park District planned to use the same location in the future, because it was near a garage that actors could use as a changing area and because it was removed from the noise of Ridge Avenue.
As the children lined up to go into the building where the Park District’s Board of Commissioners were holding their meeting, Geri Smith, a parent, told the young protesters to remember that the staff and the commissioners at the Park District “are really good people and they work very hard.”
At the meeting inside, the protestors were allowed to present their case first, because it was nearing some of their bedtimes. Ms. Smith said she had a “fantastic meeting” with Mr. Rosinski, who was unable to attend the Board meeting. That evening she reported that staff did not realize how much the kids loved the bunny hill, and that staff was trying to come up with a solution. Mr. Rosinski suggested that staff could pack snow on top of the concrete slab to build it up so it could still be used as the launch for the sled hill.
Three of the young protesters spoke. Liz said the hill was 73 years old and asked the trustees to “please think about restoring the hill.” Nora said, “We love this hill. It’s a great sledding hill.” Zoe said, “One of our favorite things is the sledding hill. … We want our hill back.”
One of the commissioners said he had used the hill when he was young. Another commissioner said, “I’m sure we can find a solution.”
Mr. Rosinski told the RoundTable, “They will absolutely have a place to sled. It will be better than it was before.” He congratulated the kids for taking the initiative to raise an issue and to trying to find a resolution.
Ms. Smith told the RoundTable, “The kids really initiated it.” She added they all attend Oakton Elementary School.