On April 1, 2015

Rutland Blooms seeks donors, volunteers

RUTLAND–Organizers of Rutland Blooms are hoping to grow the city beautification effort significantly this year and are looking for civic-minded citizens and businesses to help make it happen.

“Rutland Blooms is already making a big impact on the look and feel of Rutland, and we want to grow the effort substantially this year,” said Steve Costello, a vice president at Green Mountain Power, which started Rutland Blooms in 2013.“The reaction to last year’s Blooms event on West Street has been amazing, and we want to build on that and continue to support Rutland’s revitalization.”

With plans for 2015 projects in development, Rutland Blooms is seeking donors and volunteers interested in helping with public planting projects later this spring. Donors have already given or pledged about $25,000, but additional donations are being sought.

“We have some ambitious goals this year, to more than double the effort from last year,” Costello said.

Rutland Mayor Christopher Louras said Rutland Blooms, which was inspired by a comment from former Police Chief Jim Baker, had already exceeded his expectations, and encouraged residents to support the effort any way they can.

“Part of Jim’s philosophy, and the philosophy of Project VISION, is that our environment does affect how people live in a community,” Louras said. “When we clean up a city block or plant flowers or trees, it affects how people feel about their city–I’ve seen it happening. The effort is already paying dividends.”

Costello and City Forester Dave Schneider are still working on plans for a big spring event, as well as some smaller projects for later in the year, but in the short term, fundraising is taking precedent.

“Rutland Blooms has injected a healthy dose of energy into the city, and I’m hopeful we’ll be able to build on that in a big way with this year’s projects,” Schneider said.

Donations may be sent to “United Way-Rutland Blooms,” 6 Church St., Rutland, VT 05701. Groups or individuals interested in volunteer opportunities may contact Bonnie O’Rourke at GMP at 343-4131.

Rutland Blooms is a grassroots beautification effort. Donations will be used to pay for plants, trees, seeds, bulbs and planting materials for use in community spaces in Rutland.

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