By STEPHANIE KOSONEN
Published May 9, 2012
No money to water First Street’s flower baskets
SNOHOMISH - Downtown will not be adorned with hanging flower baskets this spring and summer like it has for years.
The flower basket program has changed hands over the years, but this year no one could afford the cost o f watering the flowers. In recent years, the flower baskets have been provided by Historic Downtown Snohomish and the Snohomish Garden Club.
The baskets usually go up around Mother’s Day and don’t come down until around October.
But this year, even though HDS probably could have found the money to purchase the baskets themselves, it’s the everyday watering that would have broken the bank, HDS says.
“It’s all a maintenance issue; it’s all about the cost of maintenance,” HDS board president Ed Poquette said last week.
The flowers cost between $15,000 and $25,000 annually to purchase and maintain.
The program began years ago when the city public works department teamed up with the Snohomish Garden Club to bring more than 150 baskets to downtown streets.
In 2009, the city cut the program out of the budget.
To keep downtown filled with flowers all summer, HDS and the garden club purchased the 150 or so baskets in 2009 and in 2010.
“It was important (to keep the baskets up) because the general impression that we got from the businesses and the community was that they are an attractive addition to the city and the downtown,” Poquette said.
HDS also paid the wages for the city employee who watered the baskets in 2009. In 2010, however, the city cut the position completely, so last year the Snohomish Bakery provided an employee to water the baskets at a discount. HDS purchased the baskets for that year, but downsized the program to about 22 baskets.
No one was willing to provide those same watering services this year, Poquette said.