By Sara E. Teller
BETHANY HOLLAND HAS LIVED IN HAZEL PARK FOR THE PAST 14 YEARS and she has had family in the city since 1942. “I can see my grandparents’ former home from my garden,” she said. My uncle Ed Duda spent his entire teaching career at Hazel Park High School and my sister currently teaches in our School District. I’m excited to see long-time residents welcome new neighbors.”
Holland has also been serving on Hazel Park’s City Council since 2017, and this year, she is up for reelection. “To me, serving is more than attending meetings or posting on social media,” she explained. “I lead by example – volunteering my time working and supporting many local community groups.”
She described her vision as one focusing on past, present and future. She knows where the city has been and what it will take to push forward and achieve future goals, and she loves the tight-knit community feel in which everyone is willing to work together. Holland explained, “I love the strong sense of community here. Residents continue to pull together to tackle challenges while fearlessly moving forward.”
Holland knows the area well and keeps very busy coordinating and participating in local events and activities. She oversaw seven low-cost vaccination clinics with Hazel Park’s Animal Control Department, and has offered her time as lead volunteer for Gleaners’ food distribution, as well as the Memorial Day parade and celebration, Hazel Park’s Historical Commission and Creative Arts group, the tax review board and zoning board of appeals, the Neighborhood Watch and Ford Road Watch. Also, you can find her at many Community Engagement Team events, including $1 Skate, Hometown Huddle, the Dr. Seuss and Santa Breakfasts, Project Blue Light, the Trunk & Treat, the Promise Zone and First Responders’ Dinners, Earth Awareness Day, National Night Out, the incoming freshmen class “lock in,” 8MBA, and ICARE. Holland is also a Lions Club member and said her “best volunteering role ever” was helping dozens of Animal Control dogs by fostering them until they could be adopted by forever families.
The Councilwoman is especially fond of her time spent with Hazel Park’s Historical Commission. She said, “I’m currently a member of Hazel Park’s Historical Commission as well as the Recording Secretary. The Commission opened the Historical Museum with about $800 and a lot of sweat equity. Photographs and artifacts from the late 1800s to the present are on display. The museum is located at the Erickson Library, 45 East Pearl, and is open monthly on the first Sunday, 12:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M., and the third Thursday, 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M., and by appointment.”
HOLLAND HAS ALSO KEPT BUSY WITH THE HISTORICAL SOCIETY. “Recently, I became a founding member of the Historical Society, a 501(c)3 non-profit. Having a brick-and-mortar museum was a decades-old dream for our Historical Commissioners. The fundraising ability of the Society is an amazing opportunity to grow the museum.”
During her first few months on City Council, Holland witnessed an overhaul of dog ordinances, and is still working on related initiatives. “I am still advocating for ordinance changes to allow microchipping as part of dog licensing, and to get rid of cat licensing while adding language to legalize TNR.” Trap-neuter-return (TNR) is a program in which outdoor, feral cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped, and returned to the location where they were found.
“Micro-chipping and TNR remain a priority,” she said.
Adding greenspace and art around town is also a priority of hers and Holland has been pushing to add pocket parks throughout the area. “I will continue to nudge administration to improve all our pocket parks,” she said, adding, “And, I’ll continue to nurture partnerships that add value and art to our community. One recent example is when local artist Richard Gage’s sculpture HOPE, a tribute to Robert Indiana, was commissioned for installation at the museum.”
Holland is focused on reconfiguring the space where Hazel Park’s iconic Raceway used to sit as well. “Although the Hazel Park Raceway was a huge part of our community, redevelopment brings much needed tax revenue and employment opportunities,” she explained, adding, “I’d like to see the John R. reconfiguration kickstart a top-to-bottom promotion of the businesses we currently have and encourage our entire main commercial corridor to become more attractive and walkable.”
In all of her endeavors, Holland has been focused on advocating on behalf of Hazel Park residents, ensuring their questions and concerns are heard and addressed. “I’m hoping residents will recognize I’ve consistently been asking questions and holding our administration accountable,” she said. “I work very hard to represent residents’ concerns.