Brockport streetscape enhanced with garden enclosures

By on May 26, 2013

by Kristina Gabalski

New and efficient fenced garden enclosures are helping to make the streetscape on Main and Market Streets in downtown Brockport more inviting and attractive.

The enclosures sit on the surface of the ground around the trees in the business district. They are filled with dirt, cultivated, and planted with a variety of hardy perennials and seasonal annuals.

Ted and Patty Hawley created and installed the first enclosure last fall in front of Fountain of Youth Organics at 46 Main Street.

“Because Main Street can be a high traffic area – especially when the college is in session – we wanted to see how the tree fence held up,” Ted Hawley says. “Brockport has a (large) dog population and, while they make great companions, they can do some pretty significant damage to plants.”

When the Hawleys purchased the building at 46 Main Street in 2009, the trees in the business district were underplanted with various perennials and a few annuals.

“Most of the plants were ruined within weeks due to dogs doing what dogs do!” Hawley notes. “There was no way to keep bikes and pedestrians out of the planted squares. We found that as soon as we installed our tree fence, that problem was solved immediately. Even the cigarette butts that would litter the squares weren’t a problem. The Brockport DPW was very supportive. We discussed plowing issues and with a few minor adjustments, like putting flags on the corners in the wintertime, everything worked out well.”

The Hawleys say they are thrilled that other building owners are jumping on board and installing the garden fences, too.

“The fences have brought a lot of positive comments from our customers and from the general community at large,” Hawley says. “It ties in nicely with Brockport’s ‘Victorian Village on the Canal’ branding. We think it will look spectacular once more fences are installed along Main Street. Each one can be planted differently, so it may end up being a reason to take a walk along Main Street. We’ve had great support from Pro-Brockport; Walk, Bike Brockport!; the Village of Brockport; and the Brockport Merchants Association.”

During the regular meeting of the Brockport Village Board May 14, board members discussed the garden squares.

“I think it’s a great idea,” Mayor Connie Castaneda said. “I’m pleased with the beautification efforts.” She noted that she is glad to see merchants and volunteers stepping forward to work on projects that benefit the downtown business district.

The mayor said the garden squares are on village property and wanted to check with the village attorney regarding liability issues. A resolution to approve the squares was passed unanimously – subject to a consultation with the village attorney.

Trustee Carol Hannan, who is the village board’s liaison to the Merchants Association, says the charm of the garden squares will “pound home” the village’s identity as the ‘Victorian Village on the Canal.’”

The garden squares will help to “make Brockport an appealing destination,” Hannan says, and explains that adding beauty to the downtown business district “benefits taxpayers (as) sales tax receipts make up a large part of the village budget.”

Trustee Hannan says the squares not only look great, but will help protect the investment made in plant material and added that she plans to sponsor one of the squares.

Members of Pro-Brockport have played a major role in the beautification effort – brainstorming, interviewing welding and metal specialists, compiling a tree inventory of Main and Market Streets and creating a list of contractors and quotes for building the fences.

To fund the garden enclosures, Pro-Brockport has created an order form for sponsors, who can choose between three enclosure sizes: a four-foot square (four on Market Street), a six-foot square (20 on Main Street), and a seven foot-by-six foot square (two on Main Street).

Sponsors can also order a six foot tall corner post with an arm for hanging objects such as flower baskets. Plaques are also available and can be mounted on the base of the garden fence with a message of up to 180 characters.

Pro-Brockport President Pam Ketchum said six garden enclosures had been sponsored by the first week of May – five on Main Street and one on Market Street.

Archie and Pat Kutz of the Lift Bridge Book Shop, sponsored the garden square outside their business at 45 Main Street.

They say they love the concept and are delighted with the results.

“Lift Bridge has been struggling for years to have an attractive garden around our tree,” Pat Kutz says. “When we saw what Ted and Patty Hawley had constructed, we knew we had the answer.”

The Kutzs signed up quickly to sponsor an enclosure and had their’s in place in early May.

“I hope everyone enjoys the results,” Pat says. “No two squares will be the same, and they will probably change from season to season, so check us out. We hope there will be many more families or groups of friends who will sponsor a tree and help make our village beautiful.”