Flower power: Plants a colorful addition to downtown Dover

Potted flowers line Loockerman Street in Dover. Delaware State News/Marc Clery

DOVER — The 331 flower pots filled with colorful plants that line Loockerman Street not only combine to create a more positive, welcoming feel to downtown Dover, they also serve as a reminder of community and businesses working together.

Amy Mullen, the events compliance coordinator for Destination Downtown Dover, said it was the collaboration of the downtown merchants that made it happen.

“Honestly, the flowers are doing much more than what you would imagine for just being there,” Ms. Mullen said. “They are beautiful from one end of Loockerman Street to the other.

“They’re actually doing what we wanted them to do, which was to bring a cohesiveness to Loockerman. It brings all the merchants together and they’re very happy with the flowers and the beauty they have added to downtown.”

Ms. Mullen said the flowers represent several things, such as: the beauty of downtown; new life on Loockerman; cohesiveness of the east and west end of the street; show what can happen when people put their minds to a task; collaboration between D3 and the city as it has agreed to the flower’s maintenance; and the businesses of Dover, in the form of the volunteers, coming out to participate.

“We’re really excited because there’s just a bunch of business owners that have businesses on the west end of Loockerman that weren’t seeing enough happening,” Ms. Mullen said. “We wanted to showcase the businesses that were down there and I think we were able to do that.”

The flowers, which consisted of more than 1,800 plants — six to a pot — were grown at the Dogwood Glen Greenhouse, which is located on Tower Road between Dover and Hartly.

“Work on this project started last winter and because it was the first time doing it, no one knew for sure just how big a project it really was,” Ms. Mullen said. “(Dogwood Glen) lovingly grew, from tiny plugs, all of the plants for the 300 pots and have made it a family affair to take care of them.”

The flower pots finally took their places downtown on May 25 after Two Men and a Truck in Dover donated a box truck to pick up and deliver all 300 flower pots.

A worker with the city of Dover Public Works Department waters the flowers that now line Loockerman Street on Friday morning.

Then it was up to Mountain Consulting, which donated a detailed layout of Loockerman Street with the precise spot that each pot should be placed.

“It seems like a minor detail until you got to the end of placing 150 pots on one side of the street and find they weren’t spaced properly, then have to go fix all of them,” said Ms. Mullen.

The flowers were distributed by 11 Dover businesses, which included: All Star Automotive, Tidemark Construction, The Moving Experience, Bel Boutique, The Loocke, Clear Lights, Union Home Mortgage, Embrace Home Loans, My Roots, The House of Coffi and Liberty Tax.

“We’ve had a very positive response,” said Todd Stonesifer, owner of The Moving Experience on Loockerman Street. “This was an opportunity for the downtown business community to really come together and there were lots of businesses that were represented in the labor portion of putting these flowers out.

“There’s lot of really good things happening downtown and the business owners came out and got together and put these flowers out there. They help to bring a more positive and welcoming feel to the downtown area.”

The flower pots and plants were purchased by Destination Downtown Dover through beer festivals — History, Heritage, and Hops, OktDoverFest and First Fridays — thrown downtown by D3 and its’ sponsors.

Proceeds from Destination Downtown Dover’s 13 annual events also helped the organization purchase blue and white “Open” flags that are placed in front of businesses down the Loockerman corridor, which signify if the store is open or not.

Ms. Mullen said that Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen liked the flowers so much that he bought some to place in front of City Hall and the Dover Public Library.

She said she got the idea for the flower project from Tom Smith, owner of The Delaware Store on State Street.

“Every year he puts out flower pots and they really dress his stretch of State Street up,” said Ms. Mullen. “So we thought, ‘Why not bring his idea to Loockerman?’”

The flowers are maintained by the city of Dover’s Public Works Department when its workers are on Loockerman Street watering the city’s other plants that sit off the street.

Kay Sass, public affairs and emergency management coordinator for the city, said the care of the flowers isn’t something that can be set it stone.

“They need to be watered according to Mother Nature — if it rains they would adjust the schedule, but for the time being they ‘plan’ on doing it every other day,” Ms. Sass said.

Brittany Tieman, who works at the Loocke, said the addition of the flowers have brought a lot of compliments from shoppers.

“Customers really like it,” she said. “They have said that it makes the street look pretty. We’ve got flowers, more businesses opening downtown … it’s just all exciting.”

Ms. Mullen said it’s amazing what the flowers are doing for the downtown atmosphere.

“Our goal is to make downtown beachfront property again,” she said. “It’s a perfect time to get in and open a business downtown, but if you want to ride the wave you’ve got to jump in.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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