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Beautification Plan Gains Support

Bridget Salantri and Bud Johnston survey some of the shrubs and trees at Mousam Way Land Trust’s nursery which could be a source for downtown plantings.

Photo credit: Lee Burnett

By Lee Burnett, Submissions editor

A new resident with a horticulture background has launched a downtown planting campaign that is gathering support from a range of community groups.

Bridget Salantri has found receptive partners in Southern Maine Garden Club, the horticulture program at Sanford Regional Technical Center, and Mousam Way Land Trust. She received encouragement from city councilors at a municipal operations and property subcommittee earlier this month. Members of Friends of Downtown also gave thumbs up after hearing about plans from City Councilor Ayn Hanselmann.

Salantri said she began envisioning possibilities in Sanford soon after she moved here three years ago to be near family. She said she has seen the multiple benefits of planting projects – beautification, neighborhood improvement, and community pride – while living and working in Bucks County, Penn.

“Sometimes one property in a neighborhood can affect others and have a domino effect,” Salantri said in a telephone interview. “Right now, I just want to do one project and see how it goes.”

Salantri has a degree in horticulture and worked in native plant propagation at a commercial nursery. She also taught a home landscaping course at Bucks County Community College and developed a streetscaping plan for downtown Wycombe, Penn.

She hopes to find the first planting site this fall near Mousam Promenade, which is under construction around Number One Pond. She’d like to work with horticulture students in developing a plan with planting in the spring. It could include flowers, shrubs and trees donated from sources, such as Mousam Way Land Trust’s nursery at Community Garden at McKeon Environmental Reserve.

“I feel this is an opportunity for not just residents of Sanford, but people who come to enjoy Sanford, to Sanford’s financial benefit,” she said.

Businesses or residents interested in offering planting sites can contact Salantri at bsalantri@gmail.com.

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