GMP and city to plant millions of flowers
RUTLAND - Rutland is about to go green - and red, yellow, pink
On Monday, April 7, Green Mountain Power and Mayor Chris Louras
announced plans for a community beautification project that will
include planting millions of flowers citywide. Almost 40 local
organizations are already involved.
"This project is a perfect complement to the city's ongoing
efforts to address quality-of-life issues and our economic
development work," said Mary Powell, GMP's president and CEO.
"We want to highlight the community's incredible spirit and the
beauty of the city, and add to that beauty in a fun, simple way
that invites participation."
"This is one more step in efforts to improve the economic and
social climate of the community," Mayor Chris Louras said
Monday. "Its impact will be visible and symbolic. The
outpouring of interest, even before today's announcement as GMP
quietly began planning, has been extraordinary."
"Rutland Blooms," as the project will be known, was conceived by
GMP's Energy Innovation Center. Lead partners include GMP, the
city, WJJR, and Vermont Country Store. A wide range of
organizations also plan to support or partner in the effort by
promoting the effort to members and clients, developing gardens,
giving away flowers, bulbs or seeds, or support the effort in other
"As soon as we heard about Rutland Blooms, we wanted to get
involved," said Bill Ackerman, head of retail at the Vermont
Country Store. "As a Vermont company with deep roots, we see
this as a perfect fit for our community development
efforts. We appreciate Green Mountain Power leading this
effort, and want to do all we can to support the effort to instill
a little more pride in our beautiful community."
Steve Costello, GMP's vice president of generation and energy
innovation, said the idea for Rutland Blooms came to him during a
Rutland Police Commission meeting, as Chief James Baker was
outlining efforts to address quality-of-life issues. "The city is
proactively addressing its challenges, and it struck me that we
should creatively support those efforts," Costello said.
"This complements the effort the city, GMP and others are already
making to make Rutland the best place possible to live, work and
raise a family."
Stafford students began removing dozens of shrubs, planted years
ago, that are on Vermont's list of invasive species, from the city
hall lawn Monday morning. They are also preparing a large
flowerbed, adding fresh topsoil and removing grass where the new
garden will be built.
The large new garden will include dozens of new flowering
shrubs, perennials and annual flowers, and will be surrounded by
early spring perennials, such as crocuses that will be planted on
the lawn since they flower and die before mowing typically begins
each spring. The garden is being designed by Karen Hill, a highly
skilled gardener who also works for the Downtown Rutland
"We'll provide a lot of support, flowers and seeds, though
Rutland Blooms is intended as a grassroots community development
project," Costello said. "As we are trying to do with the Solar
Capital effort, we want to provide some intellectual and financial
capital and inspire others to get involved for the good of the
Other businesses, clubs, teams and organizations interested in
getting involved in Rutland Blooms should contact Chuck Piotrowski
at the GMP Energy Innovation Center at 770-4088.