Project Petunia sponsorships due early June, community feedback requested

Elisa Nguyen
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
enguyen@fortfrances.com

Project Petunia is a community beautification initiative that has made Fort Frances a more vibrant place to live for around 22 years. Residents are encouraged to submit their sponsorship forms by the first week of June and to fill out a survey seeking feedback from the community.

Samantha Manty, programming and events co-ordinator for the Town, said they have gotten quite a few baskets and are hoping to get more.

“I would just encourage people to get their baskets quickly. We’ll probably be wrapping up at the time that you’ll actually be able to sponsor a basket in the first week of June,” she said.

Manty suggested that residents aim to get their sponsorships in by Friday, June 2, 2023. Baskets cost $55 each and can be sponsored by individuals and businesses, donated in memory of a loved one, or purchased as a unique gift.

She also noted that she would like to gather feedback from the community regarding the Project Petunia initiative.

“At this moment, I would love to get a little bit more feedback from the community. We really, really want to hear from the community because this project has been around for 22 years, I know that there are some small changes that might need to be made, but we want to hear from the community before those changes are implemented in 2024,” Manty said.

The Museum and Cultural Centre took over Project Petunia a few years ago, one of the recent changes that Manty noted.

Completing the survey should only take a few minutes and can be accessed from the Museum’s Facebook page, through the QR code that in a previous newspaper advertisement, or in one of the letters that went out to the community.

“Other than that, if you are not much of an online person, and you’d still like to give your input, we do have paper versions of this survey. People are more than welcome to come to the museum and fill one out, or even if they’d like us to send them a link electronically, they can give us a call or an email and we can definitely get them that link,” Manty said.

One of the questions in the survey pertains to concerns regarding the safety of the seasonal students conducting the watering on the busy four-lane highway. Alternative locations are being considered in 2024 such as along Victoria Avenue, Front Street and Agamiing Drive, the survey read.

In the survey, residents can provide their input regarding the location of the flowers. “We want to address those safety concerns and see what we can do to possibly eliminate the hazards,” Manty said.

Flower baskets are produced by Lowey’s Greenhouse. Manty noted that they receive a wonderful deal, however, the project itself does not break even and all additional costs are taken out of the museum’s budget.

“How would the community feel if we were to switch it up to some other low maintenance flowers and kind of get a feeling for what the community might enjoy. And then another thing is the price point,” Manty said, explaining the reasoning behind some of the survey questions.

“Because it is a finite item, there are only so many available each year, we’re wondering if the community would be comfortable giving a little bit more in the future to continue to have these beautiful baskets surrounding our town,” she said.

Although there is no guarantee, Manty said she has thought about personalizing the baskets a bit more, depending on how much donors are willing to spend per basket.

“I would love to be able to implement a more personalized element to each basket, and I have some unique ideas in mind,” she said, adding that personalized baskets would have to come with an additional fee, and would need to be investigated further.

Residents who have never sponsored a basket are also encouraged to fill out the survey as an important part of community feedback, Manty said.

“I would like to thank the community, businesses and individuals who have already sponsored a basket this year, those who are supporting it for the first time this year, and to the long time donors of this project. This project helps make Fort Frances a beautiful place to live, work and play,” she said.