BELPRE - Several large projects are expected to be completed by volunteers to help make Belpre more beautiful for the second year of Belpre in Bloom.
"We have a number of big projects planned for this spring and summer that will become longterm items for us to continue in the future," said Leslie Pittenger, coordinator of Belpre in Bloom and Belpre city auditor.
Three of the largest projects planned for this year's program are creating a memorial tree park, cleaning the city's fire hydrants and creating planting beds from old tires.
Photo by Jolene Craig
An out-of-service city fire hydrant has been painted to show what the Belpre in Bloom volunteers plan to do to the city’s 312 hydrants as one of the large projects for the beautification program.
The tree park will be created at the entrance to the city off the Memorial Bridge at the intersection of Ohio 7/U.S. 50 and Main Street, where some trees are now.
"This was a suggestion from the America in Bloom judges who visited us last summer," Pittenger said. "They think that land, which already has a few trees, would be a great spot to beautify with more trees."
Plans for this park are to allow people to plant trees in memory of someone, with plaques marking each plant as well as benches and a walking path.
"That area used to be highway and when things were rearranged a few years ago, it was laid out like this; with the Belpre in Bloom committee going around doing projects, we can turn that park into a nice, pretty area," Pittenger said.
The fire hydrant project will be one of the largest in terms of volunteer hours the committee has planned for this year.
"There are 312 fire hydrants throughout the city and we will be cleaning off and painting all of them," Pittenger said.
Hydrants will have the paint and rust removed and be painted a sky blue color, while between 50 and 100 will be more decorative with vines and flowers added. Pittenger estimates that each hydrant will take an hour-and-a-half to two hours to be refinished.
"I would love to be able to paint all of them with the flowers, but we just don't have the manpower to do all 312 like that," Pittenger said. "It doesn't seem like such an important project, but we think the hydrants being painted will make a huge difference in the overall look of the city."
Students in Belpre City Schools will be involved in painting old vehicle tires, which will then be stacked and used as planters and dividers in the city's parks as well as buffers in playgrounds.
"By having the kids get involved in the painting and the planting of the tires, we hope to get them excited about gardening and doing other projects with us," Pittenger said.
For the second year, the committee is offering a bus tour to Bob's Market and Greenhouse in Mason, W.Va., as a fundraiser for the projects.
The bus will leave Belpre at 8:30 a.m. April 20 with plans to spend the morning in Mason, touring the greenhouses where Bob's Market stock is produced. The group will then move across the Ohio River into Pomeroy for lunch at the Wild Horse Cafe.
There will be time set aside for shopping in downtown Pomeroy with the tour expecting to end back in Belpre by 4 p.m.
Seats on the tour cost $75 a person with all proceeds going to benefit the Belpre in Bloom projects.
The registration deadline is April 5 and forms are available at the Belpre City Building or by visiting facebook.com/belpreinbloom.