RDA on board with plan to add flowers downtown, at city entrances

by Emmitt B. Feldner of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The calendar may have read December, but the Redevelopment Authority was focused on May flowers Thursday.

The RDA voted to spend up to $1,000 of its own funds to support the “I am Plymouth” project of Karen Scheuerman.

Scheuerman, who placed and maintained planters on the bridges over the Mullet River in downtown Plymouth last summer, is looking to expand that program to key locations in downtown and in planters in various park and welcome signs around the city.

The “I am Plymouth” flowers will be in addition to the 25 flower pots that are distributed along Mill Street each year.

That program has been overseen by the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, which has indicated it will discontinue its support and operation of the program after 2014.

Those have cost around $3,400 a year to maintain, Scheuerman told the RDA.

Scheuerman said she plans to install flowers in planters at the entrances to two downtown parking lots, at City Park, the intersection of Mill and North streets and Eastern Avenue, in the park at Caroline and Mill streets and at several other locations.

She explained she has reached an agreement with Moraine Gardens to provide the flowers and to begin growing the flowers in January in greenhouse space at Moraine Gardens.

“He’s willing to get the plants going so they are large and colorful by Memorial Day,” Scheuerman said of Steve Nowicki of Moraine Gardens.

The cost to the RDA will be for flower pots to place in the various planters and locations, Scheuerman explained.

“These are not the chamber flower pots,” she emphasized. “For 2014, we’re looking at two different programs.”

Nowicki will also be providing soil for the pots and will take care of transplanting the flowers as they grow.

Scheuerman noted that the only cost she did not have covered was the regular watering that would be required during the summer.

City Administrator Brian Yerges said watering could be done by city staff this summer, but added a caution.

“I think we could make it work for this summer, but if it goes from 22 pots to almost 50 pots the next year, that’s a different thing,” Yerges said, referring to the possibility of adding responsibility for watering the pots now cared for by the chamber.

Yerges noted that those 25 pots were originally purchased with money provided by the city through the now-defunct Downtown Revitalization Committee. “In the end, those 25 pots are yours,” he told the RDA members.

“I think Karen’s idea is very nice, very colorful and adds to the community,” RDA chair Lee Gentine commented.

“We really appreciate everything you’ve been doing,” RDA member Jackie Jarvis told Scheuerman. “An important piece of this is the chamber’s responsibility in all this. Are they going to use this (“I am Plymouth”) as an excuse not to participate (in the flower pots) in the future?”

Gentine pointed out that businesses and individuals have been responsible for watering and maintaining the flowers in the 25 pots under the chamber’s program.

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