Some Crestwood volunteers take the saying “bloom where you’re planted” very seriously. They also take it literally.
Seven residents of the city’s beautification committee, led by chairperson Tom Krauska, have been diligently taking on projects to brighten the city’s public areas. Their efforts are sure to keep blossoming in coming years.
Joining Krauska on the committee are several fellow residents: Vice Chairperson Angie Weber; Josie Green; Elaine Tripolitis; Jo Ann Perkins; Cathie Page and Joelma Alves Dionizio.
“What I enjoy most is spreading around the goodness of plants, butterflies, insects, bees and birds – really all of Mother Nature – as we try to create a nature sanctuary here in Crestwood,” explained Krauska.
One of the most recent projects that these committee members and fellow residential volunteers completed was installing a new fire house walk-through garden for the Crestwood Fire Department. They planted 150 plugs. The new garden is located on the south side of the fire department’s driveway on Sappington Road. They currently are discussing this garden’s edging options.
“The beautification committee, led by Chairman Tom ‘Terrific’ Krauska, is a tremendously hardworking and dedicated team. They’re committed to making Crestwood a more beautiful place to live, work and play,” said Mary Stadter, one of Crestwood’s aldermanic representatives for the group.
She said she’s rarely seen a committee able to accomplish so much with so small a budget.
Ismaine Ayouaz, another aldermanic representative for the committee, said the annual budget for the team is $7,000 to $10,000.
Ayouaz said committee members typically meet monthly to brainstorm ideas and discuss recommendations with the city’s parks and recreation department staff.
“They really stretch every dollar. They came up with the matching neighborhood grant program several years ago, where a neighborhood can send in a proposal to build a garden, update an island, or decorate near their street entrance. The committee matches the funds residents come up with, up to $500, helps them raise funds, helps them design the feature, and even helps them plant it,” added Stadter.
The group also follows up with neighborhood recipients to ensure that plantings are doing well and to offer advice, when needed.
Committee members also handled the recent landscaping around city hall, including the Veterans Memorial. They nurture pollinator gardens throughout Crestwood as well.
With the assistance of the local Troop 580 Boy Scouts, committee volunteers planted roughly 30 trees at Sanders Park this year.
“They’re constantly looking for ways to get our local business community involved. And they encourage local citizens by recognizing outstanding yards of the month in each of the city’s wards,” said Stadter.
At the committee’s Nov. 5 meeting, they discussed replacing the trees and bushes at city hall.
Stadter said members of the beautification committee are a true inspiration in Crestwood.
Ayouaz agrees, citing numerous exciting, visual improvement projects spearheaded by the committee, such as the WhiteCliff Atrium and Spellman Park flowers.
“The committee always needs volunteers and talents to help work on projects, but also to bring ideas and inspire more community spirit,” he added.