The Mountain Times

°F Sun, April 20, 2014

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Donations pour in for ‘Rutland Blooms’

RUTLAND - As dozens of organizations prepare to green up Rutland with millions of flowers this spring, green of a different sort is pouring into a fund set up to support the cause.

Just over a week after the city beautification effort was announced by Green Mountain Power President and CEO Mary Powell and Mayor Chris Louras, donations and pledges to Rutland Blooms are nearing $10,000 and a dozen more businesses and organizations have joined the 40 that had signed on when the campaign was announced April 8.

"Rutland Blooms seems to have tapped into a wellspring of community pride and spirit," said Steve Costello, GMP's vice president for generation and energy innovation. "We have received multiple calls about the project every day, with checks arriving daily."

Cash donations will be used to purchase seeds, plants and bulbs for use at city entranceways, public spaces and non-profit sites. GMP is also donating millions of flower seeds through local schools and non-profit groups, and will be planting wildflower gardens at numerous company properties in and around Rutland.

Among other donors are businesses, organizations and individuals. Skip Pratico, owner of Pratico's Landscaping & Fence Company in Rutland, is donating a large assortment of plants, shrubs, mulch and labor and will work with the Stafford Technical Center to build a significant new garden at City Hall, which the students have already begun to prepare. Vermont Country Store donated $1,000 to that project.

"My family has been in the landscaping business since 1950, and we're proud of Rutland," Pratico said. "It's a great place to grow up and live, and we like to support the community. We love Rutland, and there's nothing better than flowers to beautify a place."

Altogether, more than 50 organizations are now involved in the project, which is intended as a grassroots beautification effort. Each organization will determine its role. Some plan to promote the effort to members and clients, plant gardens, or give away flowers, bulbs or seeds.

Donations may be sent to: Rutland Blooms, care of Downtown Rutland Partnership, 48 Merchants Row, Rutland, Vt. 05701.

Businesses, clubs and other groups interested in getting involved can call Chuck Piotrowski at 770-4088.