MEEKER — Three days into my first week as membership coordinator of the Meeker Chamber of Commerce, I was told my schedule included a “flower pot meeting” at Ma Famiglia restaurant.
“What’s a flower pot meeting?” I asked.
“You’ll find out,” was all I was told.
Well, the “flower pot girls,” as they have named themselves, turned out to be four dedicated chamber board members: Becky Hindman, Margie Joy, Cindy Welle and Kim O’Connell, who were carrying on the dream and vision of making Meeker beautiful every summer. As they began their discussions, it appeared that most of the whiskey barrels used the previous years have deteriorated and moved to whiskey barrel heaven. Now, they face the challenge of keeping the streets of Meeker beautiful in the summertime with a more permanent solution. Ideas and enthusiastic brainstorming ensued with a tentative plan for the upcoming season.
I soon learned that the flower pots have been a part of Meeker for a few years.
As Wendy Gutierrez, a committed community leader who had donated years of “flower pot” planning and execution explained, “The process included purchasing the flowers in early spring, moving them to a greenhouse in the area to carefully tend until the weather permitted planting, then rounding up volunteers to plant and then keeping them alive during the summer months.”
Not sure where all the inspiration came from in the beginning, but Vernal, Utah, Craig and Rangely sure offer themselves as potential examples.
In an article on the Vernal Web site, “Business is Blooming on Main Street,” by Patrick Timothy Mullikin, quoting the city manager, Ken Bassett, Patrick relays the beginnings of how the flowers began taking center stage each year. “The program began as a way to add some color and life to a downtown area that was in critical condition because of a bust that we were going through in the early ‘80s,” he says. “We had stores closing, and it was starting to look kind of bleak.”
And so it began with a couple of whiskey barrels as a chamber of commerce project. As the years went by, it progressed beyond its initial three-block area and the city and business owners all became a part of the successful program.
Today, hundreds of pots and hanging baskets embellish the streets providing rave reviews from passing visitors and residents alike.
Rangely and Craig each have their own tale to tell.
Meeker’s tale is just beginning — again. Transitioning into the cement pots in various sizes to provide a semi-permanent container for annual use, the plan is to begin with 10 to 12 large containers positioned on Market and Main streets and add a middle-sized and smaller container to be grouped with larger pots the following years. Volunteers will plant the flowers -projected to be before July 4 guests arrive — and also remove flowers in the fall. And professional maintenance for watering, fertilizing and keeping the plants beautiful all summer will be included.
Sponsorship to financially help the chamber of commerce in this endeavor will come through businesses and residents who want to do their part to build a flower program in Meeker that will be bring a whole new meaning to our own “flower pot story.”
By ELLENE MEECE