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Making a plan to plant

Garden Club partners with town, DOT to improve median on Cherry Ave.

Members of the Bethlehem Garden Club and town Highway Department plant bushes and shrubs as part of a new pilot project along Cherry Avenue in Delmar.

Members of the Bethlehem Garden Club and town Highway Department plant bushes and shrubs as part of a new pilot project along Cherry Avenue in Delmar.

— In its latest effort to improve the overall beauty of the town, the Bethlehem Garden Club is expanding its reach.

A new partnership has been forged among the town, Garden Club and state Department of Transportation to help develop beautification projects throughout Bethlehem. In a new pilot, the club began with the median along Cherry Avenue.

“This has been a long-range plan,” said Virginia Acquario, a member of the club and co-chairwoman of the group’s Community Projects Committee. “We’ve been trying to improve that median for years, and we finally contacted DOT to do a collaboration.”

Supervisor John Clarkson said the median project has been an “evolving topic” with the town and state DOT. The portion of Cherry Avenue where the bushes were planted is a state road but is mowed by the town’s Highway Department because grass was preferred to asphalt. The state worked with the town and Garden Club to develop the layout for the landscaping done through the pilot.

“These plantings will improve the looks of the road without endangering automobile traffic, and may also have traffic-calming benefits,” said Clarkson. “They should not increase maintenance for the town, and the Garden Club will be helping with weeding, etc.”

In June of 2012, Town officials went on a walk with members of the Garden Club, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary and Kiwanis to see what kinds of improvements could be made to make the entrances of Bethlehem look more appealing. According to Acquario, the Garden Club wouldn’t have been able to keep the group’s initiative going without the continued support from the town.

At the time, Acquario said the group was looking to step away from planting traditional gardens and focus on plantings like bushes and trees in order to improve the overall look of the town. The group is also placing more sustainable plants throughout the community that need less care and paying for benches to be placed in more heavily populated areas.

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