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

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