Soon, South Side will be a little bit brighter with the addition of 104 hanging flower baskets going up at the end of May along East Carson Street.
The baskets are part and parcel along with a sidewalk cleaning program of a 2008 public space improvement program in the neighborhood.
"It's all going to benefit the appearance of East Carson Street," said Geof Comings, manager of Business Development for the South Side Local Development Company. The cleaning program is a result of the International Downtown Association's visit and recommendations last August. Among the other things, the IDA recommended the SSLDC focus on safe, clean and green issues. The hanging flower baskets are a way of financing the sidewalk cleaning program.
Mr. Comings said the cleaning program is funded through a $30,000 dollar for dollar matching grant from the URA through the Main Street Program. "If we raise $10,000, they'll give us $10,000," he added.
Sponsors pay $300 for the hanging baskets which in turn earn approximately 15 hours worth of sidewalk cleaning. The SSLDC has found sponsors for a little over 60 of the 104 baskets it has committed to for this year.
"We hope for the support of the businesses, because they are the beneficiaries," Mr. Comings added. However, only about 20 percent of the baskets sponsored are coming from the business community. The rest are from community organizations, non-profits and individuals.
"A lot of the businesses (participating) are ones that already take care of their property," he continued noting that Penny Folino from Tom's Diner already takes care of cleaning up around her properties and also sponsored several flower baskets. "Because they know it's good for the whole street."
"We're optimistic because of the success of Ron and Adam (Ron Goings and Adam Halula, the clean up crew)" Mr. Comings said.
The SSLDC has been called by businesses they've never been able to contact before because of the clean up effort. They've also received eight more business sponsorship of flower baskets since the program began in March.
Those who sponsor baskets will also have their name placed on a plaque on the pole where the basket hangs and will also be acknowledged on the SSLDC's Website, www.southsidepgh.com, and in its publications.
To sponsor a basket, or for more information about the sidewalk cleaning or hanging flower basket program, call Geof Comings at 412-481-0651.