September 19, 2014

Lack of funding jeopardizes flower displays

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Williston In Bloom holding Town Meeting fundraiser

Feb. 24, 2011

By Tim Simard
Observer staff

Williston’s colorful flower arrangements found throughout Taft Corners and the Village during the warm seasons might be a thing of the past unless a local organization can raise enough funds.

Williston In Bloom, a nonprofit group that buys and plants flower beds in key locations around town, learned last month that its annual funding contribution would not happen this year. Due to budget constraints, Williston’s Public Works Department decided to remove the $7,000 it generally gives to Williston In Bloom in order to reduce spending, coordinator June Jones said.

With almost no funds currently available to the organization, Williston In Bloom plans to hold a fundraiser on Town Meeting night, Feb. 28. Jones and her organizers plan to set up a booth an hour before Town Meeting begins, with a group member possibly speaking about the fundraising effort during the meeting.

The group hopes to solicit donations from those in attendance, as well as sell seeds to benefit the program, Jones said. Donated seeds from the National Gardening Association will be available for purchase, with all proceeds benefiting Williston In Bloom.

While she understands the town’s difficulties to keep costs reasonable in an uncertain economy, Jones said she’s saddened that Williston may receive fewer flowers this spring, summer and fall.

“Without any contributions from the town this year, we’re definitely in a pinch,” Jones said.

Each year, Williston In Bloom plants flower around the bandstand in the Village, town office flower boxes, and creates the elaborate Williston welcome arrangement off the Interstate 89 Exit 12 ramp. The organization also pays for professional growers to plant flower beds in intersections around Taft Corners and Mountain View Road.

Jones said the group still hopes to decorate the Village, as well as the off ramp flower beds, with the help of private and business donations. Williston In Bloom would need roughly $3,000 to complete those projects. Seeds and bulbs donated by Williston-based American Meadows helped lessen the financial strain, Jones said.

It would take a total of $10,000 to fund the planting of the intersections, and “unless someone comes through with a lot of money, that’s probably not going to happen this year,” she added.

Lack of funding also puts Williston In Bloom’s other programs in jeopardy. Along with the Williston Observer, Williston In Bloom helps manage the community garden for Plant-A-Row for the Hungry, a program that provides fresh vegetables for families utilizing the Williston Community Food Shelf. Williston In Bloom also aids local homeowners associations with flower arrangements.

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