|By Carley Dangona
Town Council President Kathleen Bourque said goodbye at the Dec. 16 meeting. Pictured left to right: District 3 Councilor George Condon, Bourque, Vice President Brian Griffin and Council Clerk Sue Pettazzoni.
Reminder Publications photo by Carley Dangona
WEST SPRINGFIELD - The most recent Town Council meeting of 2013 marked the departure of its longtime president.
At the end of the Dec. 16 meeting, Kathleen Bourque took time to thank her family, fellow councilors, town employees and West Side residents for their support, advice and friendship over the past 20 years of her public service career.
“Most importantly though are all of you here [and] watching at home who encouraged me throughout the years. You are the reason I still sit here and you make it all worthwhile,” Bourque said addressing the residents.
“It really has been such an incredible experience; one that I’ve so enjoyed and have been honored to have,” she said. “In good times and in not so good times, I have so enjoyed my time with you. Thank you all of you for allowing me the honor of serving you on this council over the last 13 years.”
Bourque then introduced each member of the current Town Council. She played the role of Christopher Robin; each counselor served as a different character in the story of Winnie-the-Pooh. She read author A. A. Milne’s description of each character to illustrate the qualities each member contributed to the council.
“Together these friends and I have had many adventures over these last two years. We made it through and here we sit at our last regular meeting of 2013. Pooh [At-large Councilor Robert Mancini] and I are leaving this chapter of this story – and leaving it in very good hands I might add,” Bourque stated.
She closed with some quotes from the Pooh Bear stories:
“Think it over, think it under.”
“Ever have one of those days when you just can’t win?”
“Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.”
During the same meeting, the council also approved a $400,000 loan order, which is eligible for reimbursement from the Massachusetts Parkland Acquisition and Renovation Grant Program, for the improvement of the Mittineague Park Gateway Project.
Most of the enhancements will be made in and around the Santa’s House entranceway off Route 20 and include improvements to the horseshoe pits, parking area, walking bridge, trails, community gardens and more. The landscaping for the entrance itself includes the addition of 20 trees.
No one spoke during the public hearing on the matter.
The council also approved an amnesty period from Dec. 17 to June 30, 2014 during which all overdue dog license and subsequent late fees will be waived.
“This will allow people that may owe back licenses and fines from years past to license their dogs for a minimal cost,” Town Clerk Otto Frizzell said. “This is an attempt to increase the number of dogs that are licensed by reducing the amount of cost to the citizens.”
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