Beau­ti­fy­ing the neigh­bour­hood

The Queens County Advance - - COMMUNITY - By Aethne Hinch­liffe

A group of busi­ness­women in Queens County is look­ing for­ward to see­ing Liver­pool be­come a lit­tle brighter in the com­ing months.

Mem­bers of Suc­cess­ful Women In­spir­ing For­ward Think­ing (SWIFT) have had a lot to do with get­ting 25 bas­kets, which will soon be filled with a va­ri­ety of flow­ers and hang­ing on hooks on Main and Mar­ket Streets.

Ann Langille, owner of The Moss Pot in Liver­pool, tried to “get the ball rolling,” in other years, says Taryn Jol­limore. The ball started rolling again when SWIFT started hav­ing reg­u­lar weekly meet­ings in the new year.

Meet­ings have in­volved the busi­ness­women dis­cussing how to pro­mote them­selves, col­lab­o­rate and be more suc­cess­ful.

Jol­limore says she tried to start SWIFT a few years ago, but it “fiz­zled out.”

In Jan­uary, again.

“I restarted it af­ter the Col­lab­o­ra­tive Strate­gies meet­ing that the Re­gion (of Queens) put on,” she says.

Kelly emailed a num­ber of peo­ple and sug­gested they meet for cof­fee to con­tinue the con­ver­sa­tion, ex­plains Jol­limore.

Col­lab­o­ra­tive Strate­gies for Busi­ness and Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment was a work­shop held in Jan­uary. The Re­gion of Queens worked with the Nova Sco­tia Depart­ment of Eco­nomic and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment and Tourism.

things

got

go­ing

Phae­dra Charleton-huskins, eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer for the Re­gion of Queens, says a call was put out to the com­mu­nity so peo­ple could gather to talk about ways of mov­ing for­ward.

There was a lot of en­ergy and will­ing­ness to see the com­mu­nity grow, says Charleton-huskins about the work­shop.

Jol­limore em­pha­sizes SWIFT is not an of­fi­cial group, and says its mem­bers want ac­tion and not just talk.

As for the hang­ing bas­kets, the group de­cided they would be a good first project.

“We be­lieved it would both beau­tify the town and hope­fully con­trib­ute to over­all busi­ness,” she says.

It re­ally came down to im­prov­ing the down­town ex­pe­ri­ence, but it’s also a sense of pride for busi­nesses, adds Jol­limore.

“We ( busi­ness own­ers) are here ev­ery­day; com­ing to a bleak empty down­town is kind of de­press­ing,” she says. “Com­ing to a place with beau­ti­ful hang­ing bas­kets that hope­fully has more peo­ple just walk­ing around, milling about, is go­ing to im­prove morale as well as busi­ness.”

The flower bas­kets will be about three feet wide and four to five feet long from the top of the hanger.

“They will be high enough that they’ll be out of harm’s way, but they’ll be not so high that you won’t see them,” says Jol­limore.

SWIFT’S plan is to have the bas­kets hang­ing on Main Street and Mar­ket Street up to the bridge. Where ex­actly the bas­kets will be on Main Street has not been fi­nal­ized. Jol­limore says the bas­kets will cover the down­town core.

If the hang­ing bas- kets are suc­cess­ful, Jol­limore says SWIFT would like to con­tinue in fu­ture years. She says they would even like to ex­pand the num­ber of bas­kets and busi­nesses in­volved.

“We got to a point where we had to fig­ure it out be­cause we had to or­der them be­cause they need to plant them so they can grow in time,” says Jol­limore.

The Re­gion of Queens coun­cil dis­cussed SWIFT’S mo­tion for hang­ing bas­kets at its Com­mit­tee of the Whole meet­ing on April 10. The dis­cus­sion re­volved around a num­ber of things, in­clud­ing time and cost.

Shel­don Bran­non, coun­cil­lor for the Re­gion of Queens, says coun­cil was ini­tially con­cerned be­cause it lacked in­for­ma­tion about the project. Coun­cil­lors there­fore agreed to ta­ble the mo­tion.

Coun­cil called a spe­cial Com­mit­tee of the Whole meet­ing fol­low­ing its reg­u­lar meet­ing on April 16.

“Com­mit­tee of the Whole found a so­lu­tion in the end that we were all will­ing to sup­port,” says Bran­non.

Coun­cil then re­con­vened its reg­u­lar meet­ing to make and pass the mo­tion through coun­cil.

Bran­non says he thinks it’s great the group of busi­nesses came to­gether for a com­mon goal.

“To see more than 20 busi­nesses agree to par­tic­i­pate in some­thing is not ex­actly usual in Liver­pool lately,” says Bran­non. “It’s been hard to get a group of busi­nesses on board to do some­thing.”

He adds it’s a step of many that need to be taken. Bran­non says the com­mu­nity needs to do as much as it can to en­cour­age peo­ple to shop and do busi­ness in Queens County.

SWIFT is happy about the way things have gone. The Re­gion of Queens is giv­ing a $3,000 grant for the project.

“We’re all pleased that we’ve made a step for­ward, and that it’s go­ing to im­prove the town for all of us as busi­nesses and all of us as res­i­dents,” says Jol­limore.

Aethne Hinch­liffe photo

Clair Chan­dler, with the Brook­lyn Ma­rina, Heather Kelly, owner of Chippy Chippy Bang Bang, and Taryn Jol­limore, owner of The Wel­come Matte, stand on Main Street in Liver­pool. They’re part of a group of busi­ness­women who have been or­ga­niz­ing a project to get hang­ing flower bas­kets in the down­town core.

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