DCA Spotlights Adopt-A-Flowerpot Program in City of Pleasantville’s Downtown Business District
- Posted on: 06/09/2021
Flowerpot Project Made Possible through DCA’s Neighborhood Preservation Program
TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) is highlighting the Adopt-A-Flowerpot Program, which seeks to restore existing flowerpots along Main Street in the City of Pleasantville’s downtown business district and beautify the business corridor. A planting took place June 5 on Main Street between the Black Horse Pike and Old Turnpike in the heart of the city’s Neighborhood Preservation Program district.
The Adopt-A-Flowerpot initiative, which was made possible with grant funding awarded to the City in 2019 through DCA’s Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP), was developed by students and staff of the Ideal Institute of Technology in Pleasantville in partnership with community organizations and the City’s NPP staff. The theme for the planting is “Sowing Seeds of Hope, Seeds of Empowerment, Seeds of Justice, Seeds of Change, and Seeds of Life,” which is meant to encourage mindfulness of the beauty that Pleasantville possesses as a community united.
“DCA commends the City of Pleasantville and its partners for finding a simple and meaningful way to bring a sense of community and common purpose to its downtown district,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “The act of restoring flowerpots and planting beautiful, colorful flowers along Main Street shows how much people care about their city and its future success. The Department looks forward to seeing what themes are created for the many flowerpot planting seasons ahead.”
As part of the project, the condition of 28 existing, unused flowerpots along Main Street was assessed. Then City NPP staff and Ideal Institute of Technology students and staff developed an Adopt-A-Flowerpot narrative, engaged community partners such as Anthony and Sons Landscaping, reintroduced merchants to the restored flowerpots, and ordered materials and supplies. On June 5, they joined shop owners to plant such flowers as geraniums and pink dianthus, lavender, and peony perennials. Shop owners on Main Street have agreed take care of the flowerpots outside of their businesses and help the flowers stay healthy throughout the summer season.
The Adopt-A-Flowerpot initiative builds on the #FeelGoodFarmersMarket that kicked off last June in Pleasantville’s downtown business district with the help of NPP funding from DCA. The farmers market, which is located at 18 North First Street next to City Hall and just a block from Main Street, has returned this year and is actively working to ensure that locally grown produce and locally made goods sold at the market are affordable for all customers, especially since many people who live in Pleasantville and surrounding communities continue to be financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Adopt-A-Flowerpot is a great way to beautify our downtown, but it’s also a metaphor for how we want to grow as a community,” said Jacqueline Amando-Belton, NPP coordinator for the City of Pleasantville. “Just as plants and flowers need water and care to thrive, the youth in our city need to be nurtured as well by the community as a whole. Our hope is that by partnering our students with our merchants and entrepreneurs on a project, we will help spark a connection that can lead to future opportunities and positive growth.”
The concept behind Adopt-A-Flowerpot originated from a NPP mural project in downtown Pleasantville. Local mural artist Kelley Prevard painted a mural of flowers and a young girl planting a seed in a flowerpot.
“When we were given the opportunity to be a part of the Adopt-A-Flowerpot initiative on Main Street in Pleasantville, the young adults at Ideal Institute sprang into action to create a theme centered around sowing seeds of hope and a brighter tomorrow,” said Rodrick Green, director of partnership development at Ideal Institute of Technology. “Every seed has a story just like every youth has a story. The Adopt-A-Flowerpot initiative has started a new chapter of community pride in the lives of Ideal students, Main Street business owners, and the community as a whole.”
In addition to the $125,000 in NPP funding it was awarded in 2019, the City of Pleasantville received $83,500 in Neighborhood Preservation COVID-19 Relief Grant funds in 2020 that it used to provide direct financial assistance to small businesses in Pleasantville’s NPP district to help them cover commercial mortgages and rent, utility bills, personal protective equipment, social distancing signage, and other eligible costs related to the pandemic.
The NPP program provides direct funding, tailored technical assistance, and robust training to the 20 municipalities participating in the program to conduct activities that strengthen threatened but viable neighborhoods through local planning, community participation, and local investment.
The goal of the program’s longer-term commitment is to help towns build their local management capacity so that when the grant funding ends, they have the ability and the partnerships to sustain the work and keep making improvements. Municipal grantees must show a commitment of resources from the neighborhood and municipality, as well as support from community organizations and residents.
For more information on NPP, visit https://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dhcr/offices/np.html.
DCA offers a wide range of programs and services, including energy assistance, housing vouchers, affordable housing production, fire and building safety, community planning and development, local government management and finance, and disaster recovery and mitigation.
For more information about DCA, visit https://nj.gov/dca/ or follow the Department on social media: