Flower program withering -- York says downtown project $2,648 in the hole

    Decatur's downtown flower program is in dire jeopardy.
    Faced with a huge deficit, the program may not get off the ground next year unless necessary cash is raised relatively soon.
    Local pastor Dan York, who has been at the forefront of the program from the start a number of years ago, said Friday that the program is faced with a deficit of $2,648.
    "Last fall I supplied information concerning the future of the program," York said Friday. "We had an initial response that greatly encouraged us; however, the enthusiasm died down and as a hot, blistering summer wore on, the money stopped coming in."
     York says it costs $100 for the flowers and $10 for soil amendments, a total of $110 per pot each year.
    "That covers having the flowers contract grown, picked up, and soil amendments added each year to give us the best-looking plants possible. The reason I insist on using the flowers I do is because they give us a six-week jump on the season when we plant them. I could put in cheaper plants, but the downtown planters would just begin looking really good about the time the season is over."
     According to York, the plants are grown via a contract with the third largest grower in America, and the plants give the local program a six-week head start on the season.
    'This is the second year that Melvin Hilty of M&M Nursery and Produce grew the Cannas and he did a fantastic job with them," York emphasized.
    "We have businesses and individuals who step up to water them, and even with the extreme heat, our flowers were beautiful (last season). We closed out the 2012 season with a deficit of over $2,684. At this point and time I am not planning on ordering flowers for downtown Decatur."
    He said there may be another landscaper/nursery that will be willing handle the project.
    "I have done this program since its inception, and have taken an immense amount of pride in how the downtown looks. If some businesses or concerned individuals will help fund the program, I will gladly continue," York said. "I take not one dime for profit or labor; I only need the cost of plants and soil amendments. I have talked with my grower, and if I can let them know by January 15, they will honor the 10 percent discount and grow the same beautiful plants as in the past."
    York said the program costs the same as it did 10 years ago. "I use bigger plants but fewer of them, less variety and only those that have proven to be the strongest growers, disease resistant and reasonably drought tolerant," he said.
    He said donations may be sent to the Decatur Chamber of Commerce Downtown Flower Fund. If anyone has any questions, they may contact York by phone or text (704-2610) or by email at lawnsofdistinction@embarqmail.com