For more than four months this summer and fall, Downtown Lakewood enjoyed an extra splash of color and greenery thanks to the volunteer-driven Blossoms Program.
Begonias and impatiens dotted the urban landscape from the start of June through mid-October, creating a more appealing commercial district. The 10th year of LakewoodAlive’s Blossoms Program saw the addition of 51 flower boxes stretching east-to-west along Detroit Avenue from Barton Senior Center to Cerny Shoes – the most boxes in any year.
“The 10th year of the Blossoms Program was the best year yet, and we are extremely grateful to the dedicated group of volunteers who made this initiative possible,” said Ian Andrews, Executive Director of LakewoodAlive. “This volunteer-driven beautification service offered to Downtown Lakewood merchants is certainly consistent with our mission to foster and sustain vibrant neighborhoods in Lakewood.”
The Blossoms Program is designed to help Downtown Lakewood merchants make their storefronts more inviting and attractive. LakewoodAlive partnered with Lakewood Garden Center to provide an opportunity for merchants to purchase professionally-planted Earth Box planters with flowers appropriate for the sun/shade needs of each location.
Longtime LakewoodAlive volunteer Kathy Haber has coordinated the Blossoms Program since 2007. What started as hanging baskets that proved difficult to water has evolved into flower boxes featuring built-in water reservoirs that reduce watering requirements.
Flyers were sent to downtown merchants in January inviting them to participate in the Blossoms Program, which includes the rental of flower boxes and stands, the planting of flowers, consistent watering and the pickup and storage of all items come fall. Haber then spearheaded facilitation of the program shortly after Memorial Day.
With assistance from Lakewood Garden Center owner Paul Bilyk, who coordinates the Blossoms Program with a grower, the materials were dropped off at the Lakewood City Center Plaza at the start of June. There, Haber was joined by Bilyk, fellow volunteer Paula Reed and LakewoodAlive employees to distribute completed flower boxes to program participants.
Haber’s team of volunteers watered the flower boxes three times per week throughout the summer and early fall, and First Federal Lakewood assists with storing the water stands the rest of the year.
The success of LakewoodAlive’s Blossoms Program has enticed several merchants outside the downtown district to purchase flower boxes on their own. Meanwhile, many anchor businesses in Downtown Lakewood have faithfully participated in the program for years.
LakewoodAlive would like to thank the following volunteers for their assistance with this year’s Blossoms Program: City of Lakewood, Lakewood Garden Center, Paul Bilyk, Deshawn Brothers, Sue Echols, Traci Ezzo, Kathy Haber, Susan Krebs, Karen Lee, Jane Leschnik, Christina McCallum, Kathleen Miller, John & Norine Prim, Paula Reed, Kaitlyn Rosen, Marilyn Rudnick, Joyce Tabeling, Lili Torok, Karen Walsh and Alison Yonkers.