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Beautification program sprouts in Waynesboro

June 23, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Although the petunias hanging in baskets affixed to Waynesboro street lamps are fully grown, downtown revitalization proponents hope the flowers become a seed for a much larger project.

"Our goal, long-term, is to improve the streetscape of Waynesboro," said Bruce Dreisbach, manager of Main Street Waynesboro Inc.

The nonprofit organization expanded its flower program for 2008, filling 50 metal baskets with flowers watered by more than 30 volunteers. The baskets hang from street lamps on Main Street between Franklin Street and Clayton Avenue.

Next, stretches of sidewalks and Rotary Parking Lot will be converted into looking as if they are formed from bricks. Dreisbach, who praised grant programs used to bring trees downtown, said he would love to add benches someday.

Main Street Waynesboro Inc. is in the process of renewing its regular business memberships and has now opened up membership to individuals, with the hope that residents will sign on to support the organization. Someday, Dreisbach said, people will be able to contribute things like benches and azalea bushes to the town.

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"Streetscape is a great way for people to help or volunteer," Dreisbach said.

Reinforcing that idea is the flower program, which has volunteers in their 20s and retirees, as well as father-and-son teams, couples, groups of siblings and more.

"It's hard to recruit businesses or do economic development ... but flower beautification is within the reach of most people," Dreisbach said. "It's a great civic activity in that it allows people from all walks of life to come together."

Linda Hovis believed so much in the flower program that she volunteered to organize and manage its second year.

"I think it's a worthwhile project and makes downtown look better. Every day I talk to people who appreciate it and think it's a good thing," Hovis said.

Hovis and other volunteers said people pull out of traffic to thank them for watering the flowers, and some Main Street residents look for the volunteers and wave each morning. Hovis starts watering at 6 a.m. when it is her turn.

"It takes the volunteers two hours to water the flowers every morning," Dreisbach said.

"Some people water later in the morning and if they work, some of them water at night. A lot of the same folks that watered last year have come back," Hovis said.

"Every flower volunteer tells me that people stop and gush on them," Dreisbach said.

In his first few weeks on the job this summer, Dreisbach looked at pictures of the town from the 1930s through 1950s. He said he likes the architecture and street layout in what he called a "classic American town."

"In terms of building community, we have really great assets to work with. We're looking to improve aesthetics," Dreisbach said, remarking that much of that can be done with a good "wash and scrub."

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