Showing posts with label Beautification Committee. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beautification Committee. Show all posts

Friday, June 7, 2024

Raymond Beautification Committee kicks off 2024 season

By Kendra Raymond

Most anyone traveling through Raymond via Route 302 is certain to notice the colorful gardens and planters scattered throughout the town. The town is fortunate to have a tireless group of volunteers leading the charge to spruce up the community.

Members of the Raymond Beautification
Committee work on a project planting
flowers at Raymond Veterans Park on
Route 302 in Raymond.
The Raymond Beautification Committee coordinates the work and meets once weekly to plant and perform maintenance. Residents may notice these pops of color in public areas throughout Raymond, including the Route 302 business corridor, Raymond Village Library, Raymond Town Office, Veteran’s Memorial Park, as well as multiple planters located throughout the town.

Volunteers began work for the 2024 season about a week ago. Projects include planning, planting, and weeding. The group is small but mighty.

Raymond Beautification Committee co-chair Sharon Dodson said that support and volunteers are always welcome.

“We have from one to three volunteers at a time usually and meet for two to four hours on Friday mornings. We do weeding, planting, and deadheading during that time,” said Dodson.

The committee recently published its yearly fundraising letter, which was posted on various sites and mailed to some residents. “Plant prices are higher every year and the Beautification volunteers need some financial help to keep Raymond blooming with colorful annuals and bulbs.” Dodson said in the letter, “Most funding for plants and bulbs comes from donations, but the town will help if we don’t get enough.”

Aside from financial help, the group would like to see volunteer numbers increase. This could be a great opportunity for students in need of volunteer hours, church or scout groups, retirees, or anyone interested in the visual appeal of our town – no experience required.

“Beautification volunteers usually meet at the Veterans Memorial Park on Friday mornings. We work more often during the planting season. People can also volunteer on their own if our schedule doesn’t work for them,” said Dodson.

The Raymond Beautification Committee started in 2003 following the completion of the Route 302 improvements project. Dodson said that there was no plan for garden maintenance, so she and resident Donna Johnson started weeding the areas with the assistance of Public Works Director Nathan White stepping in to water the gardens when possible.

“The following winter, Bridgton Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce Director Mike McClellan was talking to Raymond Town Manager Don Willard about what the needs are within the community. Together they decided that something needed to be done about the new unmaintained 70-plus garden areas along Route 302. They had seen us out there working and so Mike contacted me, and we pulled together a committee,” said Dodson. “The volunteer work started in an organized fashion early that spring, and we were putting in over 600 hours those first several summers. The town hired Dick Sanborn to mulch the gardens after we had weeded them, but it was a long process to get the out-of-control gardens back to where they had started the year before.”

Public works employee Don McClellan has been part of the effort for the past 12 years, providing heavy labor and debris removal in addition to his regular responsibilities maintaining Veteran’s Memorial Park and the beaches.

Looking to the future, Dodson envisions the town taking responsibility for the pruning and weeding, while the committee would handle planting annuals, bulbs, and maintaining the existing perennials. She said that the lighter scope of work might help attract more volunteers.

Dodson sees the vision of the committee as a partnership between businesses, the town, and volunteers.

“Making things pretty is appealing to volunteers and gives us a sense of gratification,” said Dodson. “We really appreciate your consideration and look forward to continuing our 20-year tradition of making our town just a little more beautiful.”

To learn more or if you are interested in volunteering, contact the committee through their Facebook page at:

Volunteers can also call the Raymod Town Office at (207) 655-4742 or simply show up at Veteran’s Memorial Park Friday mornings at 8am. Just look for the fluorescent green Raymond volunteer shirts – and you have found them. If Fridays don’t work for you, Dodson can set up a time to meet to point out potential projects that can be completed independently.

To donate to the Raymond Beautification Committee, simply drop off or mail a check to: Town of Raymond, 401 Webbs Mills Road, Raymond, Maine 04071, Attn.: Beautification Committee. <

Friday, November 27, 2020

Gateway to Raymond wreaths help holidays shine locally

Members of Raymond's Beautification Committee
and volunteers gather to pick up evergreen holiday
wreaths to be hung along Route 302 and Raymond's
Business Corridor last year. A total of 74 wreaths 
will bring the holiday spirit to the town this year.
By Briana Bizier

Just like carols on the radio and candles in the windows, beautiful evergreen wreaths are a festive way to welcome the winter holiday season and a cheerful addition to December’s short, cold days. If you’ve driven through Raymond’s Business Corridor along Route 302 in previous Decembers, you’ve probably noticed the large evergreen wreaths hanging beneath each of the corridor’s decorative light poles. While you might be forgiven for thinking these holiday wreaths, like Santa’s sleigh, appear through a bit of holiday magic, the truth is that the wreaths are a labor of love from the Raymond Beautification Committee, the Raymond Vitalization Committee, and the entire community of Raymond.

Each fall, those two committees collect funds in order to purchase the 74 large wreaths necessary to deck the halls of Raymond’s Route 302. Maine Lakes Wedding and Event Florist purchases the wreaths in bulk, at cost, and florist Jessica Fay ties the cheerful red bows herself.

“I got involved because the Beautification Committee approached me to purchase wreaths back when my business was called Raymond Village Florist,” Fay said. “It felt like something I could do to contribute by getting wreaths for the group at cost and the same with the bows. As a retail business on
the 302 Corridor, it was really nice to see the area decorated for the winter holidays.”

Fay is still working with the Beautification and Vitalization Committees to provide holiday cheer along Route 302. "I've kept doing it because I really like the community spirit the project exemplifies,” Fay continued, “even though making 74 red velvet bows makes my fingers a little cramped! It is a good way for me to get into the holiday spirit.”

Typically, the town’s Beautification and Vitalization Committees seek the donations to fund their wreaths through door-to-door solicitations. However, like so many other aspects of normal life, COVID-19 has upended the tradition of collecting donations by going door-to-door. So, this year, community donations to the annual wreath campaign are more important than ever.

There’s no denying that 2020 has been a strange and upsetting year. The darkness of this coming December could feel especially oppressive after the individual sacrifices we have all made during this horrible pandemic, not to mention the political turmoil of this last election. These are trying times when it is especially important for us to come together as a community.

Traditionally, a Christmas wreath is made with evergreen branches to symbolize eternal life, and those branches are shaped into a circle that symbolizes unending love. This year, hanging over 70 wreaths of life and love beneath the lampposts along Route 302 is a beautifully fitting way to commemorate what brings us together as a community, and what will help us get through the dark times and into better days ahead.

The Raymond Beautification Committee and the Raymond Vitalization Committee urge you to please consider making a tax-deductible individual donation to purchase holiday wreaths for Raymond’s Business Corridor.

Checks can be made out to the Town of Raymond; please note your donation is “for the Beautification Committee” and can be hand-delivered to the Raymond Town Hall or mailed to 401 Webb’s Mills Road, Raymond ME, 04071. <