... History Of The Volunteer "Adopt-A-Site" Program
Newcomers to the city often comment on the attractive "Welcome to Melrose" sign on the Lynn Fells Parkway, the floral designs around City Hall and the profusion of flowers displayed on islands around the community. These are just a few examples of areas that are being "adopted" by civic organizations, businesses and neighborhood groups. Their objective is to be part of a long range mission to make Melrose the "cleanest and most attractive city in Massachusetts". Formally introduced by the joint cooperation of Mayor Richard Lyons and the Chamber of Commerce in 1993, there are now nearly 50 volunteer groups that are regular participants in the program.
Milano Park Site: This beautiful park on the corner of Main and Grove Street is personally maintained by Jim Milano (89 years young), Mayor of Melrose for 20 years and a great supporter of this Program.
A Walk And A Letter
If Melrose resident Sally Rogers hadn't been exercising, the city might never have gotten started on the "Adopt-A-Site" program. While taking a walk throughout the city, Sally was disappointed in the amount of trash and litter she observed, particularly in and around the business sections of the city. She wrote a letter to the Melrose Free Press and this brought immediate action from the Chamber of Commerce.
With the help of former Chamber Executive Director Jean Gorman, a core group of volunteers and city officials was formed, thus leading to the formation of the Melrose Beautification Committee. This included the following members: Mayor Lyons (Honorary Chairman), city representatives Jeff Luxenberg, Joe Mackay, Steve Cefalo, Gloria Kiernan; chamber representatives Jim Driscoll, Jean Gorman, John Connery; volunteers Sally Rogers and Eileen Hamblin, who served as first chairperson.
Robinson Island: One of the most visible and attractive sites is the traffic island located on the intersections of Main and Green Streets, near Ell Pond. This is beautifully maintained by Jeff Robinson, a long-time supporter of the city's beautification efforts.
It was very rewarding to see how quickly the community responded to the announcement that a program was in place for "adopting" various parks, traffic islands, triangles and other city-owned areas throughout Melrose. In a very short time, 22 sites were taken over and, of this date the number has risen above 50. In addition to many business establishments, it is interesting to note that civic and service organizations are participating in the program. Recently, many of the schools have adopted sites, a wonderful example of school administrators, parents and students working together.
The adopting organizations promise to beautify the selected sites through general cleanup and landscaping and then to maintain the property on a continuing basis. In recognition of this voluntary effort, the city places a handsome plaque on each site to let everyone know whose fine handiwork they are admiring.
Mayor's Site - City Hall: The City Hall grounds are beautifully maintained through the long-time support of the Melrose Garden Club. Mayor Patrick Guerriero has added his support of this community effort by planting his own garden on the City Hall lawn.
Several new programs are currently underway, designed to help build upon the volunteer spirit of the Adopt-A-Site concept. Among other projects, they include: enhancement of the window box program; establishment of an official Melrose Shrub (a white rhododendron is the choice); and, a concerted effort to join with abutting businesses to spruce up and beautify the major parking lots.
The Adopt-A-Site success story is a tribute to joint cooperation of the city, the businesses, civic organizations and private citizens working together to achieve a worthwhile goal benefiting the entire community. Outlined below are the members of the Adopt-A-Site Steering Committee and the volunteers who maintain the locations throughout the city.
The City of Melrose * Melrose Chamber of Commerce * Volunteers
Patrick Guerriero, Honorary Chairperson; Beth McNelis, Committee Chair
Welcome Sign at Lynn Fells Parkway: Sexton & Donohue and Historical Society