BELLEVILLE, NJ – Everything seems to be coming up roses for Belleville this spring.
New planters filled with bright, vibrant spring flowers have been popping up along Washington Avenue and at major intersections across the township. It’s part of a new beautification initiative spearheaded by Mayor Michael Melham.
“When you’re sitting at a red light and you look around, it’s nice to glance over and see all the colors of the flowers,” Melham said. “They just make everything look that much nicer and shows the pride of the Belleville community.”
Planters filled with flowers are the first initiative of Belleville’s recently reconstituted “Green Team” – dedicated to improving the aesthetics in the township’s bustling business corridors.
“It’s amazing what they have done so far,” Melham said. “Their hard work and creativity has made a big difference in the town. We have received a lot of compliments from shop owners and residents who appreciate the effort and note that something like this has never been done before.”
The Green Team created the planters by repurposing old pallets, in essence, costing the township only sweat equity. The Green Team then received a $2,000 grant from the state to purchase native flowers.
The Department of Public Works (DPW) has also been doing its part, focusing on regular sweeps of Washington Avenue that coincide with the police department’s new community policing initiative, assigning more officers to walk the beat and interact with residents and visitors.
Melham said the inspiration to have the DPW tend to the township’s thoroughfare was sparked when he was recently visiting Paris.
In the shadow of the iconic Eiffel Tower, Melham was fascinated by a man sweeping a Parisian street with great diligence.
“My first photograph in Paris was of this man sweeping up, and not the Eiffel Tower,” Melham recalled, with a laugh. “I was impressed with how clean the city was and I wanted to bring that idea back home. I’m all about following through on my ideas.”