By Steve Costello
Volunteers plant a tree last year for the Rutland Blooms project.
RUTLAND—With Castleton University joining Green Mountain Power as lead partners and a host of significant contributions from the business community, Rutland Blooms will kick off its most ambitious effort yet this spring.
“Thanks to the partnership with Castleton and support from businesses large and small, Rutland Blooms will sponsor three significant projects and more than double its financial contribution to Rutland’s rebirth,” GMP Vice president Steve Costello said. “Like the flowers and flowering trees we have already planted, Rutland Blooms is growing well beyond our initial expectations.”
Rutland Blooms’ 2016 budget—which comes completely from donations from organizers and sponsors—will be just over $42,000, compared to $20,000 in 2015.
“That growth is possible thanks to tremendous support from a host of businesses and organizations who have stepped forward,” Costello said. “Most notable is our new partnership with Castleton University.”
Castleton President Dave Wolk, who has made a substantial commitment to Rutland and is quickly growing the university’s footprint in the city, said Rutland Blooms was a natural fit.
“This is a city filled with beauty, in its architecture, people and natural landscape,” Wolk said. “Rutland Blooms is helping to highlight that, and build on that beauty in meaningful ways.”
Besides Castleton and GMP, major 2016 donors include Asplundh Tree Experts, Casella’s Waste Management, General Electric Aviation, New England Trees, Rutland Regional Medical Center, VELCO, and Mary Powell and Mark Brooks.
Additional support has been provided by The Bakery/Roots, Engineering Services of Vermont, Enman-Kesselring Engineering, Greenscreen Graphics, Heritage Family Credit Union, John and Paula Valente, Jane and Steve Costello, Keyser Energy, Laurie Mecier-Brochu, Marble Valley Transit Authority, Mark Foley, Jr., Omya, Rich Carlson, Rutland Redevelopment Authority, and Vaillancourt Tree Service.
“These donors are the lifeblood of Rutland Blooms,” Costello said.
The first 2016 Blooms project will include the installation of eight substantial trees in the new Baxter Street Park. The second project, which includes mostly flowering crabapples, includes 54 trees on Stratton Road, 12 trees on Woodstock Avenue, and six trees on West Street. The third project includes numerous trees and dozens of shrubs and other plants that will be installed as part of a major city-led improvement project on Strongs Avenue this fall.
City Forester Dave Schneider said the plantings simply wouldn’t happen without Rutland Blooms. “I was skeptical when I was first approached several years ago, but Rutland Blooms has had a major impact on the look and feel of numerous streets and neighborhoods,” he said. “Best of all, the improvements will benefit generations to come of Rutland residents and visitors.”
Donations may be sent to United Way of Rutland County-Rutland Blooms, 6 Church Street, Rutland, VT 05701.