Broad Street’s new hanging flower baskets enhance Valley Falls

Broad Street’s new hanging flower baskets enhance Valley Falls

Town workers install new flowering hanging baskets along Broad Street near Cumberland Town Hall, shown at left.

CUMBERLAND – Thirty-two new hanging flower baskets now grace Broad Street in the area of Town Hall, inspired by a similar project in Central Falls and the anticipation of a new $16.5 million reconstruction project on Broad Street, scheduled to begin next spring.

“Councilor Stephanie Gemski asked me if it would be possible to continue the series of flower baskets north of the Blackstone River into Valley Falls” said Mayor Jeff Mutter in a statement. “I was happy to join her in this project.”

The cost of the flower baskets is $4,900, according to Sarah King, executive assistant to Mutter. The baskets, flowers and mounting baskets were purchased from Jacavone Garden Center in Johnston. They match the style as the 124 baskets hung in Central Falls in recent years. Leaders in the neighboring city have won praise for the enhanced look the baskets bring to the streetscape there.

“This is step one in a series of quality investments in the Valley Falls area, particularly Broad Street. These investments are important in strengthening economic development and demonstrating that this area matters deeply historically, culturally, and personally to our community,” said Mutter.

“Broad Street is home to Town Hall and countless small businesses. It is a place that is supposed to greet you and serve as a positive representation of our town,” said Mutter. “It is our duty to ensure this area is as welcoming as possible.”

The new baskets were earning mixed reviews on social media this week, though the majority of residents do appreciate the enhanced look. Others questioned spending money on flowers and whether they’ll be adequately maintained.

Highway Supt. Frank Stowik said Tuesday that his department will water and take care of the flowers. They’ll use a one-inch, gas-powered hose hooked up to some old recycling bins as water containers. The makeshift water tanks will be carried around on a pickup truck, he said.

In Central Falls, workers regularly drive around on a truck to water the flower baskets.

The Valley Breeze reported last week that the full scope of the three-community Broad Street corridor project is back in the budget, bringing the total estimated cost from about $13.5 million to $16.5 million.

The RIDOT project will include new trees, sidewalks and other amenities. There also is to be a considerable investment in addressing drainage issues in Valley Falls. Travel lanes will be slightly narrowed to slow traffic, making it safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

The money for added features resulted from extensive discussions between RIDOT staff, town and state leaders, and members of the Broad Street Regeneration Initiative, the Blackstone Valley Tourism Council, and several other public and private organizations.