Town discusses gardening and maintenance work

The Town of Strasburg is discussing options toward continuing the gardening and maintenance work previously done by the now-disbanded Hometown Strasburg.

At Tuesday’s infrastructure committee meeting, officials discussed numerous potential avenues of improving and maintaining plants in pocket parks along King St.

Director of Public Works and acting Town Manager Jay McKinley told the committee that Downtown Coordinator Felicia Hart will be taking over “the town portion of the Hometown duties … to make sure that those duties don’t get overlooked.”

Hart noted that some of the funds that Hometown was looking to disperse following its disbandment went to Pot Town Organics. “We’re working with [Pot Town co-owner Janet Heishman] to coordinate the plants.”

Hart also said that Heishman is offering the town plants for the project “at a great discount.”

In working with Heishman, Hart noted, “She understands what our limited resources are and she understands the best plans to put out there.”

McKinley noted that the long-term Streetscape Plan “was to have low-maintenance plantings on the ground, with hanging baskets.”

Essentially, Pot Town and Hart would be working to decide what types of flowers — whether it is perennials or annuals — to plant in this section of town.

The goal, Hart added, is to “have the streets looking really nice before Mayfest. So we’re working from that timeline back.” This year, Mayfest is slated for May 15-17.

Town officials discussed, at length, different ways that the plantings could be maintained once the initial planting occurs.

One potential avenue was reaching out to various local organizations, schools and clubs for volunteer work for garden maintenance such as removing weeds, pruning bushes and watering flowers.

Councilman Scott Terndrup suggested reaching out to Strasburg High School for student volunteer involvement.

Hart said, “I have reached out to them, that was one of the first things I did when I took this job … we definitely want them involved.”

Hart noted that volunteering for these town-based efforts is “on the radar screen” for the high school and other area clubs. “They just have other obligations now.”

With plant maintenance, councilman Richard Redman said, “The town, realistically, needs to take responsibility for whatever we put there.”

Redmond added, “I think it’s great we have a lot of good volunteerism, but I don’t think that we can count on people to do that year-round, especially high school groups.”

The committee also discussed the possibility of attracting clubs and groups through the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Adopt-a-Highway program as well as additional signage recognition for work.

Town Mayer Tim Taylor said that, although the town “should look for volunteers … we have to plan on doing it ourselves.”

McKinley noted that long-term volunteerism is “just not sustainable. To get a group together do a project for a day or two … is wonderful.”

The committee also discussed the potential ideas for adding a budgeted line item for planting maintenance.

“For the long-term budgeting, I think we’re a little premature,” McKinley noted. “Let’s focus on the ground-covering for right now and see what it looks like, then we can determine … what kind of maintenance is needed.”

Also at the meeting, McKinley gave an update regarding the on-going construction to update the town’s wastewater treatment facility.

He said that crews have “all of the pipe in the ground at this point. So they just need to go back and reconstruct the sections of the trail that they crossed.”

McKinley noted that they are “still on track” to have this work completed by the end of April. “I’m sure any place they dug, they’ll reseed and restore it to the way it was.”

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com