By Brittany Cook
This planter on Frost Parkway is one of the flower beds in Tiffin maintained by the Blossoms & Butterflies Garden Club.
Residents of Tiffin now have an opportunity to help make the city beautiful. With the city's downtown volunteer landscaping program, they have the opportunity to maintain a section of the city's streets.
The program is similar to the state's Adopt-A-Highway program, but for landscaping across the city. Individuals, families and companies around town adopt the areas to maintain, from concrete planters to flower beds and even sections of Frost Parkway.
The entry signs to Tiffin also are included in the project.
The program started last year due to the city not being able to provide the funds to manage the landscaping. Volunteers have saved the city nearly $15,000 in the past year on landscaping fees. By not contracting any services this year, the city could save up to $20,000.
NorWesCo Industries and Greenhouse donated many of the flowers used in the displays around town. Tim Meeker, NorWesCo's horticulturst, manages part of Frost Parkway with Merre Phillips, Mike Brown and Brenda Mesnerd.
"(NorWesCo) has donated the flowers for two years," said Meeker.
His group got involved when another volunteer was unable to continue the project. He also got involved due to the community support after NorWesCo's downsizing.
"It was a great way to give back," he said. "It's a hidden little gem in town and in a nice area, and I wish more people would walk down there and enjoy it."
In addition to the donations, the volunteers often purchase more flowers they would like in their display in addition to the donations.
"(The volunteers) really take pride in it," said Mayor Aaron Montz.
Darlene Laubender, former president of the Blossoms & Butterflies Garden Club, said they started taking care of a section of Rotary Park last year.
"I talked the ladies into it," she said, "And they were very excited to do it."
The club volunteers their time and efforts in many other projects such as the Seneca County Fair, but Laubender said this was the first project to get their name out to the public.
"It's a lot of fun and it's a good project," she said. "We have many families who have veterans and they appreciate the time and effort it takes to keep up the area."
Laubender said the project does not only profit the city, but the community's involvement.
"It's not about us or what we're doing," Laubender said. "It's about the good we can do for our city. When people see others doing it, it gets them involved."
Last Christmas, the club participated in children's "make and take" workshops after the Kiwanis Club Parade and made ornaments for the Seneca County Museum. This year, the garden club is to judge the floral arrangements of the age groups 6-8, 9-12 and 13-16 at the fair.
Paul Steinmetz, former president of the Tiffin Lions Club, got involved on the project last year. The Lions currently maintain a section of the river wall, several island beds near the County Services Building and areas of Perry Street.
"We saw an ad in the paper and got in touch with the mayor's office," Steinmetz said. About six people work on the areas, including Steinmetz and Lion Laubender.
"It's really a type of community service," said Steinmetz. "It keeps us busy."
In addition to the landscaping project, the Tiffin Lions Club works with the Seneca County Fair, the farmer's market, and the Heritage Festival. In the past, the club has worked with the American Cancer Society. They still continue with the White Cane project, their various sight programs and the annual popcorn ball sale.
They also maintain a park near City Hall.
"With all these projects and opportunities, we can really live up to our motto- 'We serve'," said Steinmetz.
Although the program still is growing, the city needs more volunteers. For information, call the mayor's office at (419) 448-5401.