Boy Scouts help complete Belpre project

BELPRE – This year’s largest beautification project with the Belpre in Bloom program has been completed with the help of local Boy Scouts.

“Boy Scout Troop 13 showed up (Thursday) evening and with the four members, leader and several parents, we were able to finish all of the landscaping in just a couple of hours,” said City Auditor Leslie Pittenger.

The scouts helped put down topsoil, compost, coconut core and newspapers before planting both annual and perennial flowers in four triangles around the fountain.

“This started out as an Eagle Scout project for Bryce Gearhart and after the Boy Scouts looked through the specifications, it did not meet the requirements, but the scouts still chose to help us,” Pittenger said.

Troop 13 leader Jerry Hampton said finishing this project is part of the group’s dedication to the community.

“Even though I couldn’t use it as my Eagle Scout project, it needed to be done, so I took it to the troop,” Gearhart said.

Hampton said the troop is 91 years old and is working to be part of the community.

“So far this year we have put in about 125 manhours of community service because this community is our home and we want to give back,” Hampton said.

As for Gearhart and his Eagle Scout project, he said he is not sure what he will be doing.

“I’m not sure what I will do, but I am thinking of working with the schools in some way,” he said.

In late May, city crews removed the old fountain, created the concrete foundation and placed the new four-tier fountain and the 8 foot pool for its base, according to Mayor Mike Lorentz.

The fountain was placed in June and river rock was placed as ground cover instead of grass that needs to be maintained in the warmer months, Lorentz said.

“One of the ideas from the America in Bloom judges who visited last year was to make that space a no mow zone,” said Pittenger, who is also the coordinator of the Belpre in Bloom beautification program. “By putting down the river rock, we won’t need to mow or take care of much in that spot and the rocks are heavy enough to not cause issues with cars.”

The city and Belpre in Bloom committee chose the empty space between the two busy streets to upgrade after the Belpre Rotary Club replanted and improved the smaller area beside it last year.

This new fountain is one of a number of projects for the Belpre in Bloom program, which is in its third year, and Pittenger said is a continuation of a volunteer beautification project from last year.

“This project is an expansion of the wonderful work the Belpre Rotary Club did last year,” Pittenger said.

The smaller planting area next to the fountain was replanted last year and is being maintained by the civic group.

Pittenger said that by using tips from the America in Bloom judges, it helps the city when the awards are given for the national program at the end of the year.

“One of the things judges look for are if you used any of the previous years’ judges’ suggestions,” she added.

The old fountain will be sealed and placed somewhere else in the city when repaired, Pittenger said. It is unknown where the fountain will be placed.

Other Belpre in Bloom projects for this year will be large planters throughout the city and expanded environmental efforts through a more available recycling program and gardening and composting classes for area residents

Belpre in Bloom is the local community volunteer effort that encourages beautification and cleanup projects of all kinds throughout the city, not just planting flowers. The local program is part of the umbrella program of America in Bloom.