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Sidewalk gardens rooted in community pride

TRURO – David McKillop stands back briefly, looks at his handiwork and smiles.

Truro’s David McKillop tends to a sidewalk garden he’s adopted as his own project. Town officials are pleased with the initiative McKillop, and a few others, have embraced and hope residents will commit to it next year. Monique Chiasson – Truro Daily News

A passerby stops to make sure McKillop is continuing his project as opposed to uprooting it, and compliments him on the good deed.

McKillop, a Queen Street resident, can often be seen watering and weeding a miniature flower garden along the sidewalk in front of his house. The floral project is one of a handful taking shape mostly along Queen Street that began with the area’s Communities in Bloom committee.

According to Doug MacKenzie, Truro’s parks, recreation and culture department director, the initiative began last year when the committee created a number of garden beds along the street, between Waddell and Park streets, to help beautify the area. This summer, the committee has not been overseeing the project so it’s been up to residents, like McKillop, to continue the tradition.

“Some residents took it upon themselves and stepped up and are to be commended,” said MacKenzie.

“We see it in other areas too where others have done street side beautification projects” on their own as well, said MacKenzie. “It shows people have pride in their town.”

“It’s an artistic expression,” added McKillop on Tuesday morning shortly after watering and trimming the flowers. “And people seem to like it … they holler out their window as they drive by saying,

‘looks great!’ Some older people stop and look at it on their walks and a lot of visitors drive up Queen Street so they see it ... and some people live in apartments and can’t do things like this so they enjoy it too.”

McKillop purchased about 40 plants for the initiative at his own expense, about $60 worth, including cleomes, geraniums, dusty miller foliage, salvias and ageratums.

And overall, it’s been a success, he said.

“I had three or four plants taken out at first but then I replaced them and it’s been OK since then. People are proud of their town and it’s good people are getting enjoyment out of it.”

However, the initiative will only continue next year if residents take an active role in planting and maintaining the sidewalk garden beds. MacKenzie said the town will not oversee the project and if residents don’t take it on, the medians will be reverted to grass.

And while it’s too late in the season to start new beds, said MacKenzie, officials are looking for feedback on the project now so they know how to proceed next year.

Twitter: tdnMonique

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