BUCKHANNON – The Buckhannon Consolidated Public Works board has recommended locations for the new Adopt a Spot program, organized by Create Buckhannon.
Dr. Susan Aloi, secretary for Create Buckhannon, recently attended the Sept. 28 meeting of the city’s Consolidated Public Works Board to determine the best placements for their new Adopt a Spot program. The topic was forwarded to the CPWB for consideration by the City Council during its Sept. 7 meeting.
“Several weeks ago, we presented an outline of a project that we want to start to the city council, and then we were asked to come and speak to you about it because some of the ideas or suggestions we have for the city fall into your purview,” Aloi said. “The program is called ‘Adopt a Spot,’ and it is a program that exists in several other places like Ohio and Pennsylvania.”
The program encourages groups or individuals to identify a spot within a town and then garden or otherwise beautify the location.
“Adopt a Spot means individuals, families, groups, clubs or a sports team can adopt a little spot, about 20 square feet in size, and plant some flowers, shrubs and bushes and maintain the weeds and keep it watered to beautify different spots around town,” Aloi said. “What Create Buckhannon is willing to do is to manage the process and to solicit volunteers, and we have developed a really, really brief application process.”
Create Buckhannon will also provide the waiver for volunteers and area-designating signage, indicating the purpose of the spot. The group also plans to grant volunteers $125 to reimburse them for the cost of plants, soil, fertilizer and whatever else they need.
“They really wanted these adopted spots to be filled with native species and low maintenance, so we would like for the city first to help us identify some spots that could be up for adoption in city-owned vacant lots, corners, fences, buildings, and give permission for the volunteers who might select them to plant on those sites,” Aloi said. “We would really like some help from the city horticulturist (Dixie Green) to identify [areas] and suggest plants that might be appropriate.”
Aloi said Create Buckhannon would also like the city’s staff to help maintain the sites located in city limits.
“We would like for them to consider watering the plants that are within city limits because we don’t think the volunteer will have any trouble weeding, and then removal of trash and yard waste is another request that we thought might be appropriate, if possible,” Aloi said. “When people work in their spot, they don’t have to worry about hauling that out as well.”
City horticulturist Dixie Green said the easiest areas to access would be in the parks.
“The only places I can think of that would be easily accessible are the ones that are already in the parks that we have,” Green said. “I can’t think of any off the top of my head around businesses or storefronts or anything like that. We have a lot of areas around the dog park and City Park, and we’re making a lot of changes along Camden Avenue, so we could do something with the median strips there.”
Mayor Robbie Skinner said he thought it made the most sense to start in the Riverwalk Trail area, especially around the dog park.
“Now that we have done the property swap with the college, we now own more property down there than we used to, so we now own the area where the dog park is situated,” Skinner said. “I think we can probably set up 20-by-20 spaces there on a long walk trail lane, which would be easy for our city crew to access.”
Skinner said if there is a lot of interest, they could talk about expanding to other parts of town.
“As long as it stays on a route and doesn’t throw us out of the way, like if we’re putting something at the end of Academy Street down by Shawnee Drive,” Skinner said. “That wouldn’t be a bad thing, but we don’t go there, so we don’t want to add places to workload that would take away from the main areas.”
Officially designated areas for the program will still have to be voted on by Buckhannon City Council.