RUTLAND—Rutland Blooms, a donation-funded city beautification program that has planted thousands of flowers and hundreds of flowering crabapples, maples and other trees in Rutland, presented the City of Rutland with a $25,000 grant Thursday in support of the Center Street Marketplace.
The funding, which comes from Rutland Blooms donors, will pay for landscaping and plantings in the new downtown space, which is expected to be completed in the spring.
“This grant will help ensure the completion of the Center Street Marketplace and create a welcoming, inviting setting,” Mayor Dave Allaire said. “This project has involved tremendous collaboration between the city, businesses, the state and federal governments, so it’s appropriate that this final piece – the landscaping aesthetic – is being funded through Rutland Blooms, which is the epitome of collaboration in the city of Rutland.”
Rutland Blooms was started by Green Mountain Power and works in collaboration with the United Way of Rutland County to fund substantial planting projects each year and build pride in the community. Rutland Blooms has also expanded into support for public art in Rutland.
“Raising money for Rutland Blooms has been incredibly satisfying, with tremendous support from businesses big and small, and individuals who care about Rutland’s future,” said GMP Vice President Steve Costello, who manages the program. “This donation would not be possible without broad support from a host of community leaders.”
The Carving Studio and Sculpture Center of West Rutland also created “Stone Legacy,” a 10-foot sculpture of a stone carver in local marble, to the city for inclusion in the Center Street Marketplace. The artwork, created by artists Steve Shaheen of New York and Alessandro Lombardo and Andrea Ingrassi of Italy from a model by Kellie Pereira, was carved at the CSSC last summer.
“Stone Legacy” was the first in a series planned to honor the area’s history. A sculpture of Revolutionary War heroine Ann Story, who lived in Rutland and Salisbury, will be carved in 2018. Other projects are in the planning stages.
A “Jungle Book” sculpture by Barre artist Sean Hunter Williams, honoring the writing of the classic story by Rudyard Kipling, which he wrote while staying in southern Vermont, was installed in front of Phoenix Books-Rutland on Center Street this fall.
“The Center Street Marketplace and these sculptures will help continue the ongoing revitalization of downtown Rutland,” Mark Foley Jr. said. “These projects will help to keep downtown a fun, vital centerpiece for the region, which is critical to Rutland City, Rutland Town, and the region as a whole.”
Green Mountain Power Vice President Steve Costello (right) hands a check for $25,000 to Mayor David Allaire, as the Rutland Development Authority’s Brennan Duffy (left) looks on.