Businesses, residents invited to 'be part of history' with purchase of Main Street banners and plaques

Businesses, residents invited to 'be part of history' with purchase of Main Street banners and plaques

WOONSOCKET - The green banners that hang from telephone poles along Main Street are getting a birthday makeover next month and will soon be replaced with new versions that celebrate the city's 125th anniversary and display the names of Block Party business sponsors.

The change will be part of a dual effort to beautify downtown in advance of the upcoming event, while raising money for the massive half-mile birthday celebration, slated to be held Aug. 29.

Sponsorship banners, which will run from 1 Social St. to 2 Main St. and go down Hamlet Avenue, are being sold to area businesses for the cost of $500. For $650, supporters can also purchase a plaque, which will also be placed on the poles at eye level, and will list the sponsoring business or family name. Individual plaques cost $150.

"The appearance of the city is important and plays a big role in our reputation," said Garrett Mancieri, one member of the Block Party fundraising committee.

With the Adopt-a-Pole program, the committee will create a custom 30 by 60 inch banners with the sponsors' name and logo. The banner will hang for five months before being returned to the sponsor as a keepsake. All proceeds from the sales of banners will benefit the Woonsocket 125th anniversary Block Party celebration.

Mancieri said that the committee has 140 poles to decorate and that around 50 already have sponsors.

Sales of the plaques, meanwhile, will support the inclusion of hanging flower baskets on each pole.

The plants, Mancieri said, will be cared for by a group of volunteers.

"People want to live in a beautiful city that is attractive to tourists and businesses. By doing that, we are improving property values and increasing revenue which will provide tax relief for our residents," he said.

While some have been critical of the timing of the event, in a financially struggling community that has just sent out millions in added tax bills, supporters hope the celebration sends a message.

"This is not just about throwing a big party; this event is about the city being unified to make our future brighter than our past," said Mancieri.

To Mancieri, who recently opened a highly visible business at the opening to Main Street, Gateway Realty, the fundraiser is opportunity to be part of city history, at a time when Woonsocket may need the moral boost the most.

"Yes, the city is facing tough times and some will be critical of what we are trying to do, but Woonsocket is a great community with many people who care about the city and small business owners who work hard every day."

Mancieri also dismissed critics who say the party has been organized as part of a political campaign during a mayoral election season.

"This is not about supporting any political person or party, it is about supporting our city," he said.

The new banners will be red and will be marked with the 125 year anniversary logo, which is being designed by American Beauty Signworks.

To purchase a banner or plaque, contact Mancieri at 401-651-1519 or gmancieri@gmail.com, or fundraising Chairman Matt Moylan at 401-651-7102 or email matt@cirostavern.com.

All donations are made out to the Main Street Riverfront Initiative and can be used as a tax write-off.