Hanging city baskets are a community effort

A total of 55 hanging baskets grace Dunkirk’s downtown this year. Thanks to the enthusiastic, continuing support of area residents, clubs, businesses and city government, and a $1,500 grant from the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation that kickstarted this project in 2015, the number of flower baskets has almost tripled from the original 20.

This year there are three different planting schemes, grouped by location. Baskets on the 300, 400, and 500 blocks of Central Avenue once again feature red, white, and blue petunias with trailing, variegated vinca that were community favorites in 2017.

New baskets for the 100 and 200 blocks of Central Avenue contain red dragon-wing begonias, white petunias and more vinca, a favorite combination of Colleen Yerico, whose family greenhouse business planted the Dunkirk project for the third year in a row.

On Fourth Street, which has two additional baskets, the scheme is a multicolored, featuring orange, yellow, pink, and blue petunias with trailing, yellow-gold creeping jenny.

This project keeps growing and flourishing due to the organizational efforts of Revitalize Dunkirk’s Beautification Committee, the financial support of the community, and the many hours spent by city workers, who hang and water baskets through spring and summer, then take them down, empty and store them for the winter.

One city employee, Kenneth Sek, is due special thanks and recognition for fabricating the steel brackets needed to hang the baskets.

A maintenance mechanic, Sek not only created the city’s original stock of brackets, but has welded 22 additional ones needed for new baskets, this year and last.

Due to Sek’s expertise and the mayor’s willingness to allow him to use his welding skills for this project on city time, the new brackets not only match the others, but are also sturdier, more attractive and less expensive than available, ready-made ones.

Much of this year’s project expansion was made possible by memorial donations received in 2018 in honor of Nancy Ahlstrom and JoAnn Vacanti, some coming from as far away as California and Florida. For years to come, these unexpected and appreciated gifts will help beautify our city. Hopefully, seeing the flowers each year will remind local friends and family members of these women who loved and called Dunkirk home.

Revitalize Dunkirk wishes to thank the following individuals, businesses, clubs and organizations that donated in 2018: Add Lumber True Value; Minda Rae Amiran; Diane Andrasik; Ruth B. Antosh; BECC Electric; Blasdell Pizza; Brooks Memorial Hospital; Bud ‘n Bloom Garden Club; Casale Plumbing & Heating; Central Station Restaurant; Daniel Brunenavs, O.D., of Chadwick Bay Vision Care; Valerie S. Champlin; David M. Civilette; Michael Civiletto; Community Bank, NA; Ralph Dolce; Dom Polski Club; and Dunkirk Animal Clinic.

Thanks also to: Dunkirk Professional Firefighters Assoc., Local 616; Dunkirk School 7 PTO; Dunkirk Senior Center; Ellman’s Garage, Inc.; Jim & Diane Enser; A. W. Farrell & Son, Inc.; Marsha R. Finley; First United Presbyterian Church of Dunkirk; Flowers by Anthony; Jennifer L. Foley, DDS; Foley, Foley & Passafaro; Mark Forbes; Risha Formanowicz; G&E Tents, Tables and Chairs; and Graf Realty Corp.; Carol Gregoreski; Robert & Sarah B. Harris; Allen & Judy Hollander; and Holy Trinity Church.

Also: Rodney & Joan Houck; Inner Balance Day Spa; Dave and Janet Jagoda; Saranne Karalus; Knights of Columbus; Arlene Kuhn; Labyrinthine Ways Peace Park; Lakeside Precision, Inc.; Barbara Lehnen; Tom & Ann Marie Loughlin; The Marsowicz Family; Midtown Realty; Joseph & Sallie Muscato; North Chautauqua Dental; Carol A. Oliveira; Roger & Mary Lou Orcutt; Orthodontists Associates of WNY; P&G Foods; Jim & Dru Pasierb; Sharon & Larry Perdue; Piede Tents, LLC; and Putnam Record Insurance.

Other 2018 contributors were: Steve & Mary Rees; Robo North, LLC; Rosie & Marty Sanden; John & Shirley Scott; James & Irene Strychalski; K. Szalkowski; Peggy Szczukowski; Temple Beth El; Trish Timko; Skeeter Tower; Cindy Tuning and Ted Wronski; Universal Audiology, Joseph A. Gullo II; WNY Urology Associates; Mark A. Woods, and many generous others who wish their gifts to remain anonymous.

Anyone wishing to donate to this project can send a check made out to Revitalize Dunkirk, Inc., and mail it to: P.O. Box 107, Dunkirk, NY 14048. Please specify “hanging baskets” in the memo line.

Revitalize Dunkirk, Inc., is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit that advocates ideas for improved urban living to residents and elected officials of the City of Dunkirk in order to preserve the historic heritage, enhance the physical infrastructure, reinvigorate commerce, and boost community pride and vision. For more information visit: www.revitalizedunkirk.com.

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