BELMAR, NJ — The Belmar Business Partnership has brought a colorful touch of the garden to the central shopping district.

More than 50 large planters filled with flowers and foliage have been placed in front of storefronts mostly on Main Street and 10th Avenue, where they are beginning to spill over with vibrant blooms of petunias, marigolds and million bells.

BBP President Sal Marchese spearheaded the nonprofit corporation’s $25,000 streetscape project, with help from the borough’s Department of Public Works to fill the planters and then place them along the district's streets.

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Taking an environmentally friendly approach to the effort, Marchese had the large round containers filled halfway with plastic water bottles before putting the soil on top — plenty deep enough for the plants themselves, but also making them less heavy and easier to move.

While some store owners may voluntarily water and weed the container gardens, Public Works will complete that task several times a week to ensure the plants thrive for the rest of the summer.

Studies show that flowers can benefit downtown shopping areas by creating an inviting atmosphere for visitors, according to America in Bloom, a nonprofit group that promotes nationwide beautification through encouraging the use of flowers, plants, trees, and other environmental and lifestyle enhancements.

Not only have such efforts in downtown areas across the country increased foot traffic, “it plants pride in these communities, making then welcoming and vibrant places to live, work and play,” states the Columbus, Ohio-based organization.


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