One of the distinct attributes of Fall River is the authenticity of our community and our long rich history of Azorean Culture and our ties to Portugal.
2018 - Phase I Creative Arts Network Inc. (CAN) was approached to by David LaLima of the Westport Trail Team to present a Hydrangea beautification program in the City of Fall River and create hydrangea plantings similar to the Azores with Hydrangea Macrophylla.
After prudent consideration, our work began. Creative Arts Network Inc. (CAN), Dave and Sandy Dennis along with David LaLima met with stakeholders from MassDOT, City of Fall River, People Inc. to pitch the project. Within one (1) year the project was embraced by the parties and was ready for its first steps.
A public meeting was presented to the community by Mal Condon Curator of Hydrangeas of Heritage Museum and Gardens. Planting areas were strategically identified for the Hydrangea Macrophylla in the downtown area beginning with City Hall, South Main Street and Sullivan Drive. These locations were selected primarily for the planting process. The second location identified were the grounds of Battleship Cove.
2019 - Phase II started with planting around Government Center, South Main Street (across street from People Inc.) and Sullivan Drive in the large urns. These specific locations were sponsored by People Inc. who generously paid for, helped with the planting and maintenance in year one. In preparation for planting, Battleship Cove grounds received a massive clean-up including all the overgrown vegetation behind the carousel. Storage for the Hydrangea Macrophylla was secured at a local green house in the city. Neighborhood group meetings were conducted to present the program and was quickly embraced. Discussions began to make the Hydrangea the official flower of the City and to ask the Mayor to proclaim June 25th Hydrangea Day in Fall River. David LaLima and David Dennis presented to the City Council and a letter was sent to the Mayor. On June 25th Mayor Paul Coogan officially proclaimed June 25th Hydrangea Day in Fall River and the City Council voted to make the Hydrangea the official ornamental flower of the city. Our goal is to plant throughout the waterfront, working our way up Anawan, Central and Pocasset Street and continuing throughout the downtown. This will ultimately start the connection of the waterfront to our downtown. With the support from the city, businesses and neighborhood will be encouraged to incorporate the Hydrangea in their landscaping.
2020 - Phase III site visits between CAN and MassDOT were conducted to begin the planning and planting in the Rt79/138 connector area. This project will not only include Hydrangea but will incorporate ornamental grass and flowers in addition to a public art exhibit on the large fence. As with any program, challenges arose in relation to keeping they Hydrangea hydrated. This issue was quickly solved with the purchasing of a golf cart and large water tank by Creative Arts Network Inc. in addition to generous donations from The Lions Club, The Kiwanis Club and J. Marshall and Associates. The other major challenge we were hit with was COVID-19 and the severe drought we were hit with. This stopped everything in Phase III in relation to planting. We were, however, able to secure a grant for the purchasing of Hydrangea, mulch, stone, large black urns, benches. We also had a site visit with MassCoastal Railroad to discuss a possible placemaking area on Water Street to include the Hydrangea Plant. Niagara Neighborhood Association has sponsored the area on Water Street.
Phase III projects include:
•Re-planting Hydrangea around City Hall and South Main Street
•Planting on Old Second Street next to the Academy Bldg.
•Battleship Cove grounds
•Rt. 79/138 Connector
•Planters along Anawan Street
•Area along Water Street (Pending RR approval)
•Corner of South Main St. & Columbia Street
•Intersection of Highland Ave. & Robeson St.
These planting areas were moved to Phase IV due to COVID-19 and severe drought.
2021 - Phase IV we will resume Phase III planting projects. In addition to planting a public art exhibit will be installed on the large black fence of the Rt. 79/138 connector planting area. Creative Arts Network Inc. (CAN) will have officially adopted this spot through MassDOT Adopt-A-Spot Program. We will work in collaboration with MassDOT to expand this program for other planting areas throughout the city. CAN will also implement a similar program for city spots.
Refer to planting areas in Phase III. CAN is also working with the city to locate a 2-acre parcel of land to plant and store hydrangea, offer a small area for master gardener programs, lectures, classes, and small events surrounded by small public gardens. This can also be home for the Fall River Street Tree Planting Program in the event they need to re-locate from their existing location with a re-dedication to MaryAnn Wardell.
2022 - Phase V will continue throughout the Waterfront Cultural District leading up to the downtown. Identified locations include:
•Planters throughout Columbia Street
•Hill area above WOW Gym parking lot
•Corner of Milliken Blvd & Central Street
•Rt.79/138 Connector abutting the Wow Gyn parking lot where the granite Welcome to Fall River is