by TaLeiza Calloway
As the conclusion of the first annual flower basket project nears, organizers are requesting the city help it bloom into the future.
Margy Hughes, one of the project organizers, asked city council members earlier this month to consider budgeting $2,500 to keep the project going next year. Hughes explained the amount requested would cover the addition of 10 new brackets and staff time.
Specifically, the goal is to purchase an additional 10 brackets to increase the number of baskets from 30 to 50 next year, she said. They would be installed by Memorial Day Weekend. Volunteers solicited donations from area businesses to bring the baskets to the city this year. Donors had the option to purchase a basket in honor of someone or in memorial of a loved one.
Hughes said the requested amount covers one week in May, all of June and July through September for seasonal workers. This year there were two seasonal workers who maintained the flower baskets.
If matching funds need to be requested through the city’s Economic Development Authority, then organizers are willing to do that Hughes told officials. More than anything, she assured them the project was carefully planned and budgeted.
“It has been very carefully done so none of this project was billed to the city that shouldn’t have been.” Hughes said. “We were very successful this year.”
City council member Steve Frank said he would like to see the project move forward.
“I think this is a wonderful kind of citizen government participation (project),” Frank said. “It’s starting to be done in other cities.”
Hughes also informed council members she is no longer the point person for the project. Volunteer Carol (Muske) Theisen is the point person moving forward. Theisen, who grew up in the St. Joseph area, was inspired to bring the flower baskets to St. Joseph after seeing them in Red Wing.
Elected officials set a preliminary budget Sept. 6. St. Joseph Finance Director Lori Bartlett said the council has not made a decision about the request. Preliminary budget numbers can be reduced but cannot be increased, Bartlett said.
If the city council was to move forward, it would have to find a way to fund it within the budget that was set.