Submitted by Lillian Habeich 

I feel like I am one of the luckiest people in the world.  Not that I have all the trappings usually attributed to success—money, fame, and the like.  Simply put, at this juncture in my life, I can say that I thoroughly enjoy what I do!

Originally from Phoenix, one of the rare ‘natives,’ I long ago threw off the shackles of defining myself by my career.  Instead, I consider myself a world citizen by avocation and a consultant by profession.  My life adventure has also taken me far from my beloved hometown; I have consulted to individuals, private and public elementary schools, city government and non-profit entities, a foreign government, and U.S. Fortune 100 and foreign companies as a senior manager for a major accounting firm in New York.

I am currently bringing to bear my far-flung experience, as an adjunct lecturer in international business and entrepreneurship at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. My heart is dedicated, however, to the Hance Park Conservancy (www.hanceparkconservancy.org), a nascent non-profit, whose mission is to activate and unite this community by promoting the creative use of public space and a vibrant arts and cultural experience.

Our highly skilled and passionate group aims to lead the way in transforming this park to create a signature, destination in downtown Phoenix–akin to NYC’S iconic Central Park.

Many of Phoenix’s residents have no idea where this downtown jewel is. So, too, is Phoenix’s identity not well-defined.  When the new Master Plan for the park is realized, all of that is bound to change.  The plan to enHance Hance–incorporates some of the best Arizona has to offer in its spectacular landscape and places it in an urban setting—all for families and people of all ages to explore.  Even now, Hance Park has some of the magic of Disney’s “It’s a Small World” ride, with the Japanese Friendship Garden and the Irish Cultural Center on its borders.

Hance is not without its challenges, as the homeless mainly make their home there now.  It is in the midst of these social conundrums that this project enthralls me.  How does one embrace all facets of life in building our community?  The Hance Park re-mastering is a veritable social experiment—and a sign of Phoenix’s coming of age.  This hometown girl is so lucky to be a part of Phoenix’s enHANCEment and rising.

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