Hilliard seeks residents' input on how to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

A. Kevin Corvo
ThisWeek group

Hilliard officials are soliciting input from residents about how the city will publicly recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day. 

On Jan. 18, Hilliard will recognize Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an official city holiday for the first time. It is a federal holiday recognized on the third Monday of January. 

Hilliard City Council acted last month to make the day an official city holiday. At the same time, City Council voted to remove Columbus Day, observed on the second Monday of October, as a city holiday for 2021. 

The Hilliard Municipal Building is at 3800 Municipal Way in Hilliard.

City Manager Michelle Crandall said Hilliard is exploring possible ways to “celebrate the legacy” of Martin Luther King Jr. in the future. 

“We are working on something for 2021 that is COVID-safe,” said David Ball, director of communications for Hilliard. He said officials hope to share details about socially distanced and at-home activities the week of Jan. 10. 

“We think we will be able to do something more significant in 2022 when we have time to plan and COVID is not a concern,” Ball said. 

Some of the planning could evolve from ideas the city receives from the public via the city’s website, talk2us.hilliardohio.com. 

“Residents with suggestions are invited to go to talk2us.hilliardohio.com to share their ideas for programs that could be implemented in future years,” Ball said. 

The city will continue to collect input for an undetermined length of time, he said. 

“It’s one of those topics that could stay in place for an extended period of time and which we will periodically remind residents that is available and that we are seeking their ideas,” Ball said. 

Crandall said she looks forward to learning what residents have to say. 

“(Recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. Day is) an opportunity to create programs that make a difference to the community through volunteerism, celebrations of diversity and other activities that benefit others,” said Crandall, adding she is pleased that Hilliard took steps to name Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an official city holiday. 

“Council’s unanimous support of this resolution was an important statement about our beliefs and priorities as a city, as well as recognition of Dr. King’s important work." 

The city’s collective bargaining units agreed to the modification, Crandall said. 

Recognizing Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a city holiday does not change the number of paid holidays for city employees or the number of days city buildings are open to serve the community, said Council President Andy Teater, who also serves as mayor. 

“Council’s support of this resolution is an important statement about our beliefs and priorities as a city,” Teater said. 

President Ronald Reagan signed a law in 1983 establishing Martin Luther King Jr. Day in recognition of the civil rights leader who was assassinated April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.  

kcorvo@thisweeknews.com 

@ThisWeekCorvo