BELPRE - Plans are under way with new projects and ideas for the second year of the Belpre in Bloom community beautification project, officials said.
"We have a lot of really good ideas and projects that we want to do this year to help make Belpre more beautiful," said Leslie Pittenger, coordinator of Belpre in Bloom and Belpre city auditor.
Those projects include working with the city tree commission to do an inventory of the trees in Belpre so there is a list of what trees are there and which ones may need to be taken out and replaced, creating a memorial park in the green space off the Memorial Bridge and painting fire hydrants throughout the city.
Photo by Jolene Craig
In June a group of Belpre in Bloom committee members, master gardeners and volunteers gathered to plant flowers in a patchwork pattern around the fountain at the intersection of Washington Boulevard and Putnam Howe Drive.
Fire hydrants in key areas throughout the city will have scenes painted on them for added flair, Pittenger said.
"The biggest project this year will be to take some of the land off of the Memorial Bridge and make it a green park," Pittenger said. "It was suggested to us by the America in Bloom judges this summer as a way to beautify the area and extend our welcome entrance."
Some of that property is expected to be cleared to allow people to purchase and plant memorial trees and other plants as well as benches and a possible walking path.
The committee plans to paint old tires to be used as flower beds and buffers at playgrounds.
"By adding color and plants to children's areas in our parks, we will hopefully get kids interested in flowers and the environment," Pittenger said.
To get more community members involved in Belpre in Bloom, the committee plans to offer classes on gardening and other areas of property beautification.
"I am very excited about the class on backyard composting and possibly proper planting and design elements," Pittenger said. "What a lot of people don't understand, I think, is that this program is about more than planting."
Belpre in Bloom is part of the umbrella program America in Bloom, a charitable organization to promote nationwide beautification through education and community involvement by encouraging the use of flowers, plants, trees, and other environmental and lifestyle enhancements.
"This is a city-wide thing and we encourage individuals to get involved and join us, not just in the big projects, but at their homes, in their yards," said Mayor Mike Lorentz.
Last year's Belpre in Bloom community volunteer effort included 37 concrete planters, flower beds and hanging baskets throughout the city, the five entrances into Belpre beautified, streetscape flags along Washington Boulevard and a community garden.
"Our main goal, now that we have done several projects, is to maintain what we have already done with the five city entrances and other areas," Pittenger said.
"As much as I would love to make this project as big as the city, we can't get so large that we can't keep up with it," Lorentz said. "When it comes to plants and beautification, you can't just do it once; you have to keep working on it and that's what we plan to do."