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City of Tonawanda

Mandy Sampson has big plans for a playground off Luksin Drive that’s seen better days.

The avid gardener and substitute teacher told the Common Council on Tuesday she wants to turn the city-owned plot adjacent to New Life Christian School into an educational tool called Mill Stream Community Garden.

Her vision includes a butterfly garden for students to study the insects’ life cycle, a frog pond and berry trees to lure different kinds of birds.

“It’s in my neighborhood, it’s in my community,” she said. “I love kids and I think it would greatly benefit them.”

She hopes to secure educational grants, donations and funds from a “buy-a-brick” in the walkway campaign.

Sampson said she hopes to start planting bulbs and trees in the fall once the city has removed broken and rusted playground equipment. Sampson is seeking help from a garden designer and other volunteers who may email her at mstrixie4@gmail.com.

Also this week:

• The Board of Education will host a budget advisory team meeting on Tuesday, 6 p.m., at Tonawanda High/Middle School, 600 Fletcher St. A regular meeting of the board will follow at 7 p.m.

• A free Winterfest takes place Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. in the high school. Features include an auction, movies with popcorn, a chili cook-off and basketball and soccer tournaments.