Heimlicher seeking flower volunteers

       Jerry Heimlicher is looking for a few good gardeners.
       And that's just on the Westside.
       The Colorado Springs City Council member has initiated Springs in Bloom, a volunteer effort to plant flowers in the public flower beds in parks and on street medians citywide.
       He's already heard the criticisms: He was part of the council vote to eliminate the longstanding funding that has always let Colorado Springs Parks workers plant such flowers every spring and tend them through the summer. And, he says he'd vote that way again. “We didn't have enough money left in the budget,” he said.
       “The decision was easy: A cop on the street or garden blossoms?”
       However, that doesn't mean he dislikes flowers. Far from it. “Some of the gardens go all the way back to General Palmer,” he said. “I don't want to give up Palmer's legacy.”
       His hope is that the public will see the idea, not as a cynical effort to get citizens to do the city's former work, but as a chance to pitch in, build camaraderie with their neighbors and put color back in their town.
        “People have told me it won't work,” said Heimlicher (who is co-adopting a flower bed near City Hall). “That's a battle cry for me.”
       So, with help from fellow Councilman Larry Small, he's been pushing the idea with individuals, groups, businesses and the media, seeking volunteer adoptors for each of the 104 flower beds and donors to help pay for plants, fertilizer, water and other costs.
       One of the big boosts to date has come from Classic Homes, which has offered to send a water truck around to each of the flower beds, as needed. This means volunteers don't need to worry about watering, Heimlicher said.
        On the Westside, the city has identified two public flower beds - in Thorndale and Blunt parks. Thorndale's has been adopted already, by the Friends and Family of Genny.” (See adjoining story.)
       The Springs in Bloom “inventory table” on the city web site springsgov.com) states that Thorndale has 396 square feet, leaving room for 892 plants. Blunt is listed at 70 square feet and a 158-plant capacity.
        Thorndale's flower bed is at the southeast corner of the park, at the intersection of 23rd and Uintah streets. Blunt's is at the northwest corner, Vermijo and 24th Street.
       Citywide, the website shows 18 sites having been adopted so far - all by groups or businesses.
        Adoptions are on a first-come, first-served basis.
       Although the volunteers will be doing the work, they can get help from the city in terms of design, plant types and other tips, Heimlicher said.
       The city will erect signs at the gardens stating the names of their adopters.
       People can start planting May 15.
       Heimlicher also plans to work out a kind of competition among the gardeners, such as best-looking or most weed-free.
       “We don't have the funding, but I think we have the spirit,” Heimlicher said, “people who want to roll up their sleeves and make the city as pretty as it would have been.”
       Interested people can call 385-6509.

Westside Pioneer article