Blossom Boulevard’s back

Local students, volunteers plant over 2,000 petunias along US 31

Students help to plant petunias along both sides of U.S. 31 in Manistee on Wednesday. (Ashlyn Korienek/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — After a four year hiatus, Manistee’s vibrant Blossom Boulevard has finally returned.

Local students and volunteers gathered on Wednesday to plant 2,400 petunias along both sides of U.S. 31, from River Street to Third Street.

“We’ve got three schools that are participating,” said Jeff Mikula, Department of Public Works director. “There’s 125 kids from Manistee Area Public Schools, and we planted on the west side this morning. We have groups of kids from Trinity Lutheran Schools and Manistee Catholic Central that are coming in the afternoon, along with the volunteers that signed up.”

The flowers were purchased from Weesies Brothers Garden Center and Landscaping, and required 132 flats of petunias. “Your Blossom Boulevard” had its last season in 2015, when the previous committee members retired — there was nobody to step in.

A boy plants flowers along U.S. 31 as part of the Blossom Boulevard planting event on Wednesday. (Ashlyn Korienek/News Advocate)

Kendra Remai, of Douglas Valley Winery, who serves as chair of the Blossom Boulevard committee, said community members came together this year to bring the iconic floral boulevard back. There are five members on the new committee.

Mikula said they felt this year was the best time to plan for Blossom Boulevard’s return to Manistee.

“The last committee resigned and was hoping for new, fresh volunteers to step forward,” Mikula said. “We have been talking about it for a couple of years and this winter we decided to go for it.”

The weather was partly cloudy on Wednesday with only a light sprinkle in the morning, making planting day a success.

“The temperatures are good, and the kids are rockin’ and rollin’,” Remai said.

Now that the petunias are planted, watering and weeding must take place all summer. Remai said volunteers are able to join group weeding all summer from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesdays. The DPW is also helping to water the flowers and dispose of the weeds.

“We have weekly meetings scheduled, so anyone can show up and we will weed,” she said. “Some groups have adopted blocks. So they will take care of their sections whenever they feel like weeding.”

So far, Remai said the community’s support has been beyond what the committee expected.

“The community is super excited,” Remai said. “A lot of people were excited to come out and plant today, and are continuing to sign up on Wednesdays.”

Remai can be reached at ManisteeBlossomBoulevard@gmail.com or on the “Manistee Blossom Boulevard” Facebook page.

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Posted by Ashlyn Korienek

Ashlyn is the cops & courts and city reporter for the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3109 or akorienek@pioneergroup.com

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