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More sponsors being sought for ‘Project Petunia’

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While Fort Frances may be covered in snow, the local Chamber of Commerce already has flowers on the brain as it gears up for its annual beautification program, “Project Petunia.”

“We’re going to do a big campaign this year, because it is our 100th year celebration, and expanding the flower project is part of Phase II of the Heritage Tourism Project,” Chamber manager Dawn Booth noted yesterday.

“So we are going to be adding baskets this year, and our goal is 100 sponsors for 100 years.”

Each summer, the Chamber hangs baskets to brighten up the 400 block of Scott Street, as well as the stretch of King’s Highway from Tim Hortons to Central Avenue, up Central Avenue to the Ontario Tourism Centre, and in the “gateway” area of town on Church Street and Mowat Avenue.

It also puts planters on the traffic islands at Central Avenue, as well as one on the small traffic island across from Tim Hortons.

Booth said with the expansion of the flower basket program this year, the additional baskets will extend towards the La Verendrye Parkway and further east down Scott Street beyond the 400 block (the Chamber’s beautification project is meant to complement that of the local Business Improvement Association, which includes flower baskets on the 100, 200, and 300 blocks of Scott Street).

Booth noted project sponsorship has fluctuated over the years, ranging from 45-75, with only 46 last year.

“We’d like to see that number get up there again,” she stressed.

“We really want to encourage more individuals and families to sponsor, not just the business community. That’s kind of our goal this year, to attract more of those people,” remarked Booth, adding some people want to help beautify the town, some support “Project Petunia” in memory of loved ones, and others sponsor in lieu of giving a gift to someone on birthdays or for Easter or Mother’s Day.

The cost is $50 per year, and sponsors can commit for a period of one-five years at a time if they choose.

“When we first started the sponsorship program, a lot of people signed up for five years,” noted Booth. “Unfortunately, those have expired and we want to try and get more five-year commitments.”

Some businesses and organizations also are multiple sponsors (sponsors should know that money donated does not go towards a specific basket or planter, but towards the cost of the program as a whole).

For more information on the beautification project or to be a sponsor, call Booth at 274-5773 or drop by the Chamber office at 474 Scott St.

“Project Petunia” began in 2001. Each year of the program, council has agreed to have town employees water and fertilize the flowers during the summer months free of charge to help out.

The Chamber again will be getting flowers from Lowey’s Greenhouses.

Lowey’s also puts the baskets up and takes them down, as well as stores them for the Chamber each winter.

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