Fredonia Mayor Stephen Keefe made a villagewide plea for both individuals and organizations to adopt a hanging flower basket if they would like to.
With about $5,000 slashed in the 2014-15 budget for funding flowers around downtown Fredonia and the village parks, Keefe said the village would accept donations for about 40 hanging baskets, the biggest expense in that amount.
"I've got a lot of people that wanted to pursue getting the hanging baskets re-planted and put up, and there were people willing to volunteer to go around and water them, but the board decided to take flowers out of the budget altogether," he explained. "My fear is if you allow your downtown area to decline in appearance, the morale and attitude will decline, and that's a bad combination. We cannot appear like a lost community."
The mayor added a group is currently talking about helping out with the hanging planters, but he would like to see the community step up as a whole and take care of the community.
"This wouldn't be a tax strain at all," he said. "This would be a chance at community volunteerism. Every little bit helps."
Those interested in adopting a basket can call Village Hall during business hours at 679-2307 or Keefe's village office at 679-2301.
"The actual baskets are there; we just need the flowers. We would be willing to put something on the baskets to have it show who has dedicated it, so we'd be happy to work with anyone interested in doing this," Keefe said, adding he is hopeful to start putting planters up by Memorial Day.
Fredonia resident Margaret Valone said she loves seeing flowers in the village and is hopeful the hanging baskets will continue to beautify the downtown area.
"It says something about us; we're in tune with nature and that we love welcoming people to the community," she explained. "We love so many things, and it shows with these flowers. You see it's a friendly town, and the flowers show an expression of a love to live in this area.
"I certainly want it to continue."
Fredonia Garden Club President Rosemary Mancuso told the OBSERVER her organization will look into what it can do to help out.
"We can do something, I'm sure; our members are always willing to help," she added. "Those baskets are important to the village; they're so beautiful."
The hanging baskets are Keefe's concern because the Fredonia Rotary Club committed to purchasing the flowers on the ground and around the village parks. Trustee Phyllis Jones, the Rotary secretary, informed the OBSERVER of the club's intent.
"I talked to the current president, Rich Ryan, and the incoming president, Joe Gugino, and we have done the planting for several years," she said. "I explained the situation with the village budget, and we always like to do community projects, so they were right on board with helping out. We will continue to plant the flowers and (Streets Department Supervisor) Jack (Boland) will order them.
"It will be a nice community project the Rotary will do for the village."
Jones added Rotary will take care of ground-level flowers at Barker Common, the Houghton Street park and around Village Hall and the Civil War memorial at Pioneer Cemetery.
"They're a great, local organization that does a lot for the community," Keefe said. "I thank them for helping out with this."
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