Rutland Blooms: Flowering crabapples to brighten city gateway

22 May 2014

RUTLAND, Vt. – Rutland Blooms is going to give a key city gateway a flowering makeover.

Rutland’s West Street gateway will get a significant upgrade, with local businesses and the City of Rutland collaborating on the most dramatic Rutland Blooms project yet. 

Volunteers from Green Mountain Power, The Vermont Country Store, NeighborWorks of Western Vermont, Stafford Technical Center, Berkshire Bank and the Vermont Council of Urban and Community Forestry, under the supervision of city forester Dave Schneider, will plant 76 flowering crabapple trees along about 1,700 feet of city right-of-way on the south side of West Street June 11.  The trees, purchased with donations from Casella’s, GMP, The Vermont Country Store and Rutland Regional Medical Center, will replace scrub brush and nuisance trees and will improve the neglected stretch, which borders a rail siding, the city’s winter snow dump and a recycling facility. Last fall, Rutland Blooms volunteers planted thousands of daffodils just east of the planned crabapples, on the opposite side of West Street.

“I’ve wanted to improve this stretch of West Street for years, so when GMP came to us with the idea of a significant crabapple planting, we started planning this project the same day,” Schneider said.

“These native trees will significantly improve the look and feel of this gateway, provide food for birds, and demonstrate the city’s commitment to beautification,” Rutland Mayor Chris Louras said.

GMP Vice President Steve Costello thought of a crabapple planting after seeing hundreds of blooming crabapples in other parts of the city last spring.  “The trees will provide weeks of spectacular blooms and will really brighten up that stretch even after the blooms fall,” Costello said.  “We expect to continue to work with the city on similar crabapple projects in the years ahead, and to make this a key centerpiece of Rutland Blooms.  Aesthetically, there is an enormous bang for the buck.”

The Vermont Country Store, Rutland Regional, Casella’s and GMP donated $2,500 each to pay for the trees and associated materials.

“I can’t think of a better way to use our donation to Rutland Blooms,” said Eliot Orton, proprietor of The Vermont Country Store.  “This will dramatically change the first impression of people coming into Rutland on West Street from Rutland Town.”

Rutland Regional President Tom Heubner said he saw the crabapples, and Rutland Blooms in general, as a commitment to Rutland’s future.  “Planting flowers and flowering trees speaks not only about today, but tomorrow, and the many future springs when they will be in bloom,” Huebner said.  “Generations from now, people will enjoy the beauty that we’re helping to establish now.”
“Rutland Blooms is tapping into the spirit of Rutland and helping reshape its visual appeal,” John Casella said.  “Rutland has always been our home, so we support Rutland Blooms, which is really focused on Rutland’s future, and making it as bright as possible.”

Rutland Blooms is a grassroots beautification project started by GMP in 2013.  Other Rutland Blooms projects – funded by donations from local businesses and individuals – will be announced and planned through the fall.  The Vermont Teddy Bear Company will give a bear dressed as a gardener to the first 10 people to donate at least $250 to Rutland Blooms.  The funds, along with all donations, will be used to pay for plants, seeds, bulbs and planting materials for use in public community spaces.

In addition to pacesetter donations from Casella’s, GMP, Rutland Regional, The Vermont Country Store and Berkshire Bank, donations for the 2014 campaign have been pledged or made by All Earth Renewables, College of St. Joseph, Dave and Karen Correll, Dean and Marcia Pierce, Edward Jones Inc., Engineering Services of Vermont, Foley Family of Businesses, General Electric, Godnick’s Furniture, Green Mountain Marketing and Advertising, groSolar, John and Paula Valente, Lang McLaughry Real Estate, Laurie Mecier, Marble Valley Regional Transit, NBF Architects, Neighborworks of Western Vermont, NRG Residential Solar, O’Brien, Shortle, Reynolds & Sabotka, Reed Wilcox, Rich Carlson, Rich and Monica Lloyd, The Bus, Vermont Electric Power Company, Village Snack Bar and Wilk Paving.

Donations may be sent to United Way of Rutland County-Rutland Blooms, 6 Church St., Rutland, VT 05701.

Green Mountain Power (www.greenmountainpower.com) generates, transmits, distributes and sells electricity in the state of Vermont. The company, which was named 2013 Utility of the Year by the Solar Electric Power Association and 2014 Solar Champion by Vote Solar, serves more than 250,000 customers and has set its vision to be the best small company in America.

Steve Costello, Green Mountain Power (802) 793-4031