The Main Street Portsmouth Design Committee has been working hard to prepare the downtown for the summer season and has reached new peaks and has met all goals. The committee is responsible for most of the greenery you see in the downtown, from flower pots and hanging baskets, to parks, parking lots and other public spaces. They also manage several contracts to oversee yard maintenance of downtown public spaces and the watering of all hanging baskets.
This work is overseen by Main Street Portsmouth President and Chairwoman of the Design Committee, Sue Burke. Burke is an instrumental volunteer for the City of Portsmouth and is actively involved in groups of all kind. She is also a trained arborist and gardener who has won awards for her work, as well as 2018 Citizen of the Year Award by the Portsmouth Area Chamber of Commerce. “I am proud of the work Main Street and the Design Committee accomplishes,” Burke claimed. “It takes a lot of hours in all sorts of weather conditions, but I always have my reliable volunteers willing to put in hard work to make the downtown a place we can be proud of.”
This monumental feat includes the planting of 73 hanging baskets in our downtown area; the 60 beautifully decorated, huge planters in front of businesses; the maintenance of ten urns in front of our murals filled with flowers; and ten large planters that adorn the city building and six at the county courthouse.
The public spaces maintained by the group include Alexandria Park, the Fourth Street Parking Lot, Market Square, and the Roy Rogers Esplanade. Additionally, the committee has worked with the city to create intricate flower beds at the dog park, which took many days and a small army of volunteers to make possible.
“I can’t begin to explain how honored and excited I am to be helping with the creation of this new park,” Burke said. “And I am beyond proud of our volunteers for stepping up and helping with this challenging job.”
Main Street agreed to plan and create the new, highly public flower garden when approached by the city. Estimates for landscaping put the city over budget and Main Street donated the time to keep cost low for the City of Portsmouth, so tax dollars could be responsibly spent.
Between all of the many projects this summer, nearly 300 spring and summer volunteer hours of service have been donated to make this year’s beautification possible to date.
“I am always amazed by the integrity and drive these women and men of the Design Committee have when working to make downtown beautiful,” Main Street Portsmouth Executive Director Joseph Pratt said. “They are easily our hardest working volunteers and we are truly blessed to have them putting in the long hours, especially when weather is often against them or the job seems tough.”
Many of the regular volunteers include Sue Burke, Suzette Rhea, Bruce Distel, Kris Newman, Diane and Joel Baringer, Candi Boden, Cindy Kayser, Tomi Burns Mamie Snook, Janet Tieman, Angie Burke, Becky Rieser, Annlee Rhea, Sue Welty, Alice Spriggs, Hellen Wells and more.