The Charlestown Beautification Coalition developed as a result of the dissolution of the Women’s Club. Members included representatives from the Charlestown Community Tree Committee, the Garden Club, and the Recreation Committee. In our first year, we developed a community plan, produced a colored packet, and distributed it to community members.
We are now responsible for the light poles that light up a mile of Main Street, the hanging baskets of flowers and their maintenance. With all the healthy trees (thanks to the Tree Committee), the two gardens at each end of town (thanks to the Garden Club), and the above posts, our community is lovely all summer and all winter with wreaths on the poles. We are proud of all the efforts of the volunteers who have devoted hours and labor into the beautification of Charlestown. We have won awards from the State of New Hampshire and anyone who visits notices our efforts immediately.
For the last two years, the Coalition has been directing its efforts to improve the east side of Main Street. We have devoted many hours to this plan. We have compromised with each other and the Charlestown Selectboard. Our goal was to introduce a four-foot grass strip between the sidewalk and the parking area from the Dollar Store to the existing grass strip. Decorative paving strips were also suggested for the remainder of the business section to delineate the sidewalk from the parking.
We met with the selectboard several times as this plan evolved and secured funding for a good portion of the work. The State of New Hampshire Department of Transportation engineer also approved our plan. After all this effort, the members met with the selectboard on Aug. 4 with a final five-point plan. We were immediately told that the board did not support our plan. They were sick of hearing from us and tabled our effort.
It is important to point out that all the above committees are made up of nine people in all. Many serve on two to three of these. So like many other clubs in our community, the Beautification Coalition has dissolved as a group.
Why would anyone devote time to this community when its leaders could care less? Bringing beauty to our town has always been the goal of all these wonderful people. We are sad as no one is stepping up to help or take our places, but it is no surprise because it is a disheartening chore.
Sharon Francis, James Fowler, Aare Ilves, and Judith Murray