Beautification Committee

    Beautifying Swanton: A 5 year plan

    A Strategic Plan by the Beautification Committee of the Swanton Enhancement Project
    February 2018

    Purpose of the Beautification Committee:
    To elicit from citizens a strong sense of place and community pride

    2. To increase property values

    To attract investments
    To improve the community's image. According to community leaders across the country, beauty is one of the most influential factors in community attachment and loyalty to one's town or village. A nice-looking neighborhood even promotes good behavior. Beautification is a key to community vitality.  Our Mission Enhance the visual beauty of the landscape and structures in Swanton by promoting and implementing beautification projects and other visual improvements.

    Dates: The Committee's intention is to complete actions before the dates indicated.

    Goal # 1 Achieve a twenty percent increase in community appreciation for the beauty that
    surrounds us and beauty that is possible.
    Action Steps
    • By March 1, 2018, ascertain citizens' current views about the beauty / environment we live in and what could change as a result of our efforts by compiling results of the Swanton's Visual Appeal surveys distributed in late 2017 to residents, students, businesses owners and others for beautifying Swanton, especially question #5 (Is Swanton visually appealing?) and #6 (Can Swanton look better?).
    • By June 1, 2018, identify opportunities in the Swanton town plan, zoning bylaws, site plan review guidelines and other policies for addressing beautification.

    • By November 1, 2018, in order to collaborate and expand community-wide efforts, identify and meet with people interested or active in beautification initiatives to include Green Up Day (alleys, river clean up), the Swanton Arts Council (public art, focal points), landlords (abandoned, unsafe or unsightly buildings), public officials (sign and lighting regulations, abandoned or unsafe buildings, streetscape, zoning, sight-plan-review standards, creation of parks, and other).
    • By December 1, 2018, develop or acquire an inventory of publicly-owned land in Swanton that could serve as potential parks.
    • By June 1, 2018, gather ideas for implementing beautification efforts through discussions with at least five other communities.
    • By February 1, 2019, develop a plan to increase public awareness of efforts to beautify the community to include awards, public outreach, formal reports, hands-on workshops, lectures, identification of new partners and other.
    • By March 1, 2021, conduct a new survey to measure citizens' attitudes.
    • At each bi-monthly meeting of the SEP Steering Committee, report on beautification activities by the committee and others, including the status of these action steps.

    Goal #2 Develop tools and protocols for increasing, sustaining and managing beautification activities.

    Action Steps
    • By April 1, 2018, solicit the support of Village Trustees and the Town Selectboard to formally adopt the recently developed Swanton Urban Forest Management Plan.
    • By September 1, 2018, determine criteria and apply for designation as a “Tree City USA” by the Arbor Day Foundation.
    • By November 1, 2018, study and draft a list of recommendations for changes to existing municipal ordinances, policies and guidelines pertaining to beautification, such as signing, lighting and others, and work with Town and Village leadership to enact changes.

    • By October 1, 2018, determine plans, costs and feasibility for building a greenhouse to propagate flowers.

    Goal #3 Plant trees and flowers.

    Action Steps
    • By June 1, 2018:
    ✔ replant existing flower beds and boxes
    ✔ plant new beds at key downtown points; at triangle by Canada and Spring Streets
    ✔ add two more flower boxes on the bridge
    ✔ plant seven new street trees in the Village downtown (at Canada and Spring Streets, the Village office building and possibly the Swanton Public Library).
    • By September 1, 2018, identify at least 100 potential locations for the planting street trees on the six entrances to the Village:
    ✔ First Street (Grand Avenue to I-89)
    ✔ Canada Street (Merchants Row to Dunning Street)
    ✔ Grand Avenue (Village Green to Platt Street)
    ✔ North River Street (Depot Street to Brooklyn Street)
    ✔ South River Street (Depot Street to the Railroad Museum and Rail Trail)
    ✔ Lake Street (S. River Street to Middle Road).

    • By October 1, 2018, record new plantings in town tree plan & inventory

    • August 1 of each year, order thirty dry-root trees to nurture for future years.
    Tentative long-term Action Steps to be assessed each January
    • In CY 2019, plant thirteen new street trees and establish three new flower beds.
    Estimated Cost: ??? Record by October 1.
    • In CY 2020 plant twenty new street trees and establish three new flower beds.
    Estimated Cost: ??? Record by October 1.
    • In CY 2021 plant thirty new street trees and establish three new flower beds.
    Estimated Cost: ??? Record by October 1.
    • In CY 2022 plant thirty-five new street trees and establish three new flower beds.
    Estimated Cost: ??? Record by October 1.

    Goal # 4 Increase resources sufficient to implement beautification efforts.
    Action Steps
    • By April 1, 2018, hire a person to water and weed selected flowers and trees
    during the 2018 summer months.
    • By May, 1, 2018, increase membership on the Beautification Committee by three
    people.
    • By January 1, 2019, raise $5,000
    ✔ By April 1, 2018, sponsor a fund-raising dinner
    ✔ By June 1, 2018, sponsor a perennial plant sale.
    ✔ By January 1, 2019, identify and apply for at least one grant.
    ✔ Solicit donations
    • In 2019 – 2021, sponsor two events each year
    • By July 1, 2018, determine the value and cost of retaining the services of an arborist for maintaining trees in public lands and rights-of-way as recommended by the Swanton Urban Forest Management Plan.
    • By March 1, 2018, provide municipal leaders with a suggested list of expectations for an appointed tree warden to perform to support planting and maintenance of trees.

    Summary of Action Steps
    CY 2018
    March 1 Compile results of Swanton Visual Appeal Survey Suggest to Selectboard expectations of an appointed Tree Warden
    April 1 Adopt Swanton Urban Forest Management Plan
    Hire part-time person to maintain flowers and trees
    Sponsor a fund raising dinner

    May 1 Increase committee membership by three people
    June 1 Review municipal documents

    Discuss experiences with five other communities
    Plant seven trees, new and existing flower beds
    Sponsor a perennial plant sale

    July 1 Assess value of and cost for services of an arborist
    August 1 Order thirty dry-root trees
    September 1 Apply for designation as a Tree City USA
    Identify 100 potential locations for new trees
    October 1 Record new plantings in town tree plan & inventory
    Determine feasibility of building a greenhouse

    November 1 Meet with Green Up, SAC, public officials and others

    Recommend enhanced municipal policies

    December 1 Identify publicly-owned land for potential parks

    Evaluate achievement of goals.

    CY 2019
    January 1 Apply for beautification grant
    February 1 Develop plan to increase public awareness
    Evaluate achievement of 2018 goals

    June 1 Plant thirteen street trees
    August 1 Order thirty dry-root trees
    October 1 Record new plantings in municipal tree plan & inventory
    November 1 Sponsor two fund-raising events
    CY 2020

    June 1 Plant twenty street trees

    Record new plantings in municipal tree plan & inventory

    August 1 Order thirty dry-root trees
    October 1 Record new plantings in town tree plan & inventory
    November 1 Sponsor two fund-raising events
    CY 2021
    March 1 Conduct new citizen survey to assess achievement of goal #1
    June 1 Plant thirty street trees
    August 1 Order thirty dry-root trees
    October 1 Record new plantings in municipal tree plan & inventory
    November 1 Sponsor two fund-raising events
    CY 2022
    June 1 Plant thirty street trees

    Record new plantings in municipal tree plan & inventory
    Sponsor two fund-raising events
    August 1 Order thirty dry-root trees
    October 1 Record new plantings in municipal tree plan & inventory

    ”Read

    October 2017 report - Beautification Committee

     

    Swanton Beautification Committee of the

    Swanton Enhancement Project                                                  October 2017

    Many thanks to all who planted red petunias in all kinds of containers throughout the village this past spring. The beautiful flowers along First Street and elsewhere in the village made our community sparkle all summer.

    We sold or donated fifteen flower boxes crafted by ---- at Hudak's. We concentrated on red petunias, and many boxes sported other bright colors as well.  Thank you to those who purchased boxes.

    Flowers boxes on the bridge were made by Ross Lavoie and filled by Sandy Kilburn.  Marie Frey of Hudak's nurtured hundreds of plants from seeds for weeks before planting. While we set up only two boxes this year, they are bigger and more secure. We plan to add more in 2018.

    The village green was alive again this year with four bright flower beds. Special thanks to Sandy Kilburn, Marie Frey and Linda Wirts for their dedication. Thanks, too, to Stacey Raines and her wedding party for spending the good part of a day in May to spruce up the beds around the fountain.

    Stacey also donated 35 lilac seedlings from her wedding which are temporarily planted in a bed behind the fire station. The Committee will decide in the spring how to disperse them.

    Elisabeth Nance, Community and Economic Development Director, with a little help from Hank Lambert, painted fall colors on the windows of the old Prouty building with permission of the owner, Gordon Winters.

    Speaking of Gordon, how about the beautiful park he and his wife, Debbie, designed at the corner near Swanton Lumber. Andy LeDuc donated much time in the design and construction. Frank Shumway and his crew did the landscaping. What a fantastic facelift to this important gateway into the village!

    We owe a debt of gratitude to Mike Menard and Village Public Works for watering, weeding, mulching and keeping out village looking so well groomed throughout the year. Thank you guys.

    Finally, if anyone has ideas about further beautifying the village and town, please contact anyone on the Swanton Beautification Committee.

    Members:    Sandy Kilburn, Linda Wirts, Michelle Beaulieau, David Hamlen, Elisabeth Nance, Hank Lambert, Frank Shumway, Suzanne Washburn, Katie Marshall, Marie Frey, Ryan Baxter, Karen Dremen, Lauriette Winters

    ”Read

    First Street First

    “First Street First” Campaign
    SEP Beautification Committee
    February 2017

    Purpose

    1. To enhance the eastern gateway to Swanton, the community we are proud to call home.
    2. To work together on a project that will enhance citizen engagement and pride.
    3. To achieve buy-in by our commercial partners and residents by soliciting their  ideas and involvement in a unique neighborhood project

    Preliminary

    1. Get sponsorships from commercial entities along the corridor of First Street from I-89 to the Library to support the eventual plan for beautification.
    2. Identify residents of First Street who are personally known to Committee members.
    3. Create a draft plan
    4. Identify steps for implementing the plan
    5. Discuss the draft plan elicit ideas for implementing it with the Planning Commission, Swanton Arts Council, elected officials, and others.

    Possible Steps

    1. Identify a 2 or 3-person team to meet with our commercial partners on First Street to solicit sponsorships: members of the Beautification Committee, SAC, elected or appointed officials.
    2. Suggested questions and talking points in meetings with residents:
    • What are your thoughts for making this entryway a beautiful symbol of our community’s pride in Swanton?   
    • What do you think of planting trees and flowers along the corridor?
    • What would that look like?
    • How do you think public art could make the street more attractive?
    • What do you think of trees being planted in front of your property in the public right-of-way?
    • If suitable, would you be willing to accept and maintain a tree placed on your property?
    • What about flower beds? Placement?
    • Would you be willing to maintain the bed by watering it daily and pulling weeds?
    • If you know your next door neighbor, would you introduce us so we could get their ideas in a similar discussion?
    1. Using the information gathered, identify specific sites on the map for trees, flowers, art.
    2. Sponsor a neighborhood meeting (free food and drink) of First Street residents to discuss our findings and to elicit more ideas.
    3. Beautification Committee and SAC meet with the Planning Commission and elected officials to report our findings and present a concrete plan for implementation.
    ”Read

    Beautification Committee - March 6th, 2017

    Beautification Committee
    March 6, 2017, 6 – 7 p.m.
    Swanton Public Library

    Meeting Notes

    Present:  David Hamlen, Linda Wirts, Katie Marshall, Hank Lambert

    1. Linda reported that she met with Mr. Thoren regarding tree planting on the streets of St. Albans performed by him and Dr. Carmoli over a 25-year period using seedlings dug from their properties: red oaks, locust, maples and some apple trees.  It was a volunteer effort resulting in over 1,200 trees nor gracing the City streets.
    1. Flower Planting  
    1. Hudaks is nurturing hundreds of red Wave Petunias to be available for street planting.
    2. Hudaks has built 15 cedar box planters. Hank will request expenditure of up to $500 from SEP funds at the March 15 meeting of the Steering Committee.
    3. Linda reported she approached Peoples Bank and the Episcopal Church regarding flower planting. Both agreed to plant and assume the costs.
    4. Katie approached Shaggy’s Pizza on First Street and Marshall law office on Grand Avenue.  Each will buy boxes. The Liquor store will use their own whiskey barrels. She will talk further with Lisa at the furniture store.
    5. Sandy had reported she will provide a box at Notch; she suggested we should also plant flowers in the smaller pots provided last year.
    6. The committee agreed that two boxes should be placed at the base of the new electronic sign.
    7. Linda volunteered to approach all businesses along First Street. Hank will be in touch with the Village office. The two trees in front of the building have been cut down. The space invites flowers and trees.
    8. Discussion arose about tracking all the people we approach and their willingness to contribute financially. Hank will send out a grid for recording details which will guide us in planning and at the time of planting.
    9. We will plant flowers on the Village green as usual, emphasizing ‘red.’
    10. Sandy and Marie have a new plan for plantings on the bridge.
    1. Tree Planting  Hank rolled out a colored map prepared by the Northwest Regional Planning Commission which highlighted properties along First Street.
    1. Dave suggested that we could order bare root trees in the fall from a nursery in Minnesota that would deliver them in time for spring planting. This seems like a less expensive alternative than having Intervale Nursery nurture them for us. Over the next few months we will identify exact locations and species of trees.
    2. Katie identified a number of possibilities from a Vermont State resource.
    1. Katie will talk further with ‘V. J.’ at Bartlett Trees regarding a possible workshop on tree planting and tree maintenance techniques. Hank will check with David Jescavage and with Reg Beliveau on training needs for Public Works crews and Swanton Electric Co.
    ”Read

    Beautification Committee - Feb. 13, 2017

    Beautification Committee
    Feb. 13, 2017, 6 – 7 p.m.
    Swanton Public Library

    Meeting Notes

    Present:  David Hamlen, Marie Frey, Sandy Kilburn, Linda Wirts, Katie Marshall, Ryan Baxter, Hank Lambert

    1. Dave reported on a recent meeting of VT Nursery and Landscape Association featuring Roy from Wisconsin who spoke about propagating perennials for flower beds; they shade weeds and continue to expand each year. Mulching with leaves instead of bark is less expensive. Dave will gather more information and report.
    2. Katie shared a website which features a free Street Design Manual for Living Streets:      http:www.modelstreetdesignmanual.com/index.html  We could use it as a useful reference as we move forward.
    3. Marie reached out to Heath McAllister regarding possible assistance for street  plantings.  No contact yet.
    4. Marie reported she has planted 200 pots of red wave petunias. Red zinnia seeds are ordered.  Dave will tend them.
    5. Hank reported that Reg Beliveau showed him two Tow-owned land sites which we could use to propagate trees: one at Goose Point and one at end of LaFar Street.  
    6. Hank talked with Mike Ingalls of Interval Nursery, Burlington, for purchase of tree saplings for us to propagate dry root trees.  Mike suggested that the nursery order the trees we want, plant, water, fertilize them at the nursery for $8 to $15 per tree per year. They would dig them up and deliver when we needed them which would save us time and coordination.

      Discussion arose about the need to identify species of trees. One option would be to contract with Intervale Nursery for 30 to 40 low canopy, dry root trees, and use Town land for propagation of taller trees such as oak, elm, maple. Katie cautioned about planting monocultures, anticipating diseases later on that might devastate a single species. No decisions made.

    7. Remainder of meeting centered on planting red wave petunias in containers around the Village, especially First Street.  There was agreement about the general thrust of the draft plan for First Street.
      1. Dave emphasized the need for a package to present to potential ‘keepers’ of the flowers we plant: a planter, soil and plants.

        Hank agreed to research on-line possibilities for containers. Marie will check with Alex at the Hudak sawmill for building cedar boxes and costs.

      2. Where should we display the containers?

    -- Linda will contact Holy Trinity which has containers in place.

    -- Sandy will contact Notch

    -- Hank will contact Village offices and fire station.

    -- Sandy and Marie will take care of erecting permanent planters on the bridge rails, one large container on each side.

    -- We will identify other sites between now and our next meeting.

    8. Should we charge a fee as a ‘buy-in’ and to recoup some costs?  Maybe different fees for commercial enterprises vs. private homes?   Undecided.  

    9. Dave suggested we provide a simple handout showing how to care for the flowers: watering, fertilizing, dead heading, etc.

    ”Read

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