There is a lot of community service work that is wasteful effort, but a community service work garden project in McKean County, Pennsylvania is anything but that. Kate Day Sager writes about a project that really is a beautification project. I get annoyed when I see tens of thousands of dollars spent on a “beautification” project that decorates a bridge with multiple names of a city in the area. How does that beautify anything? But to the point. Kate writes about a community service work garden that really does beautify an area as well as provides offenders of whatever sort a worthwhile project in which to become involved.
Many area residents have likely seen and wondered who planted and cared for the beautiful flower gardens seen along U.S. Route 219 near the Kendall Avenue area. . . “There’s going to be perennials in there to start with and then a bunch of annuals added to it, so it will be beautiful,” said Mike Barnard, community service coordinator with the McKean County Adult Probation department. Barnard said the three-year-old project is an on-going cooperative effort with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s Highway Beautification Program.
Leave it to Pennsylvania to make wise use of our tax supported Highway Beautification Program. Flower gardens will really beautify and not just sprinkle a little kitsch here and there. We’ve got one of those bridges on I77 in Stark County, OH. It’s the Pro Football Hall of Fame Bridge. It crosses the interstate and has large orange arches that provide no structural support for the bridge at all. Then we have images of football players in various poses hanging from panels along the arch. Oh, and did I mention that the football players are lighted (when the bulbs aren’t burned out) at night? I have to admit, though, that I have actually seen much worse expenditures of Highway Beautification tax dollars. Beautification Dollars? Sorry. Back to Kate’s article.
Phil Causer, community service specialist, was serving as supervisor at the Kendall Avenue garden, and said the workers were installing raised beds and a watering system for the plants. . . Causer said the community service workers, who were not identified, were selected to build the flower beds because of their carpentry skills. He said he workers enjoyed helping with the project and other gardening projects in the county.
You can read the rest of Kate’s article by clicking here or on the link below. There is more than one community service work garden around the county, one of which is a large vegetable garden used to feed jail inmates. Kate says that you wouldn’t recognize people working along the highways as community service workers. Read her article to find out why.
Photo by Orange County Archives