‘Project Petunia’ still seeking sponsors

Now that the flowers for the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce’s “Project Petunia” have been out for more than a month, potential sponsors clearly can see how much they help brighten up the town.
That’s the message the Chamber is sending out as it continues to look for more donors to help expand the program, now in its sixth year.
“The campaign’s gone really well,” Chamber manager Dawn Booth said yesterday.
“We actually just had a follow-up meeting not too long ago and decided to do another fax-out to our membership and local businesses to tell them it’s not too late if you want to sponsor flowers.
“Now that they’re up and look beautiful, people kind of get more excited about them,” she added.
“I think we’re pretty close to reaching our goal for this year, but we can always use new sponsors to help sustain the project for years to come,” Booth stressed.
Some 60 baskets were put out early last month—10 more than last year—to brighten up the stretch of King’s Highway from Tim Hortons to Central Avenue, then up Central Avenue to the Ontario Tourism Centre, as well as in the “gateway” area of town on Church Street and Mowat Avenue.
Eighteen planters also were set up on the traffic islands at Central Avenue, as well as one on the small traffic island across from Tim Hortons.
“Project Petunia” is meant to accent projects done by the local Business Improvement Association (BIA) and “Communities in Bloom.”
The continuation of the project is due to the sponsorship the Chamber receives from the Town of Fort Frances, Lowey’s Greenhouse & Market Gardens, and the general public and business community, noted Booth.
She said people sponsor the program in memory of loved ones, in lieu of giving a gift to someone on birthdays, or at Easter and Mother’s Day, or just to help beautify the town.
She added sponsors should know that money donated does not go towards a specific basket or planter, but rather towards the cost of the program as a whole.
The cost is $50 per year, and sponsors can commit for a period of one-five years at a time if they choose. They also can adopt more than one flower basket or planter.
The Chamber’s long-term goal is to have flower baskets lining a route from businesses in the west end of town to the far east end of Scott Street by the upper Rainy River, noted Booth.
But again, this all depends on sponsors.
For more information on “Project Petunia,” contact Booth at 274-5773.
In other news, while the Chamber’s major project for July is the annual “Quest for the Best” singing competition, which takes the stage next Tuesday (July 25) in conjunction with the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, Booth and her summer staff have been busy planning other upcoming events.
For instance, a “Business After-Hours” is slated for next month, with details to be announced soon.
This will be followed by a fall harvest dinner in September—a new event to celebrate the area’s agricultural community.
Booth noted the Chamber will partner with the Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society, Clover Valley Farmers’ Market, Rainy River Cattlemen’s Association, and more for this event.
Then the Chamber will hold its annual business awards banquet on Oct. 28. Nominations forms for this will be out in late August, said Booth.
And at the end of November, the Chamber will have its general membership meeting, including the election of the board of directors for 2007.