Volunteer for VIS

To the editor:

The Village Improvement Society of Saranac Lake (VIS) is so very appreciative of the hard work that Dana Fast and Joy Harvey poured into the Welcome Garden at the intersection of Route 86 and Lake Colby Road over the past 15 years. It was an incredible gift they gave to the community, and their contribution is very difficult to replace. Dana’s recent letter to the editor brings up an important current issue — the need for more volunteers who care about our community gardens.

To provide some historical background, in the early 1990s there was a very active horticultural program at the local prison. They grew plants from seeds and planted and maintained flowers in the Star Garden, Veterans Memorial Park, Sears’ parking lot median, Turtle Pond entrance garden, the Welcome Garden, and four entry signs. After an injury at the Star Garden and a personal injury suit against the Village and the State, the horticulture program was shut down. Shortly thereafter, VIS was approached by Village Manager Howard Riley, and asked to help plant these community gardens that prisoners had maintained in the past. This brings us to where we stand today.

VIS is revitalizing our 100+-year old organization with the help of some energetic and talented new members who have focused on bringing awareness to our mission through the development of a website and a Facebook presence. They also provide fresh organizational skills, assistance with plantings and watering, and general promotion of VIS.

The Aktion Club has also been instrumental in keeping us visible in the community, by distributing VIS donation jars at several local businesses. They regularly collect donations from these jars that help offset the costs of the beautiful hanging baskets downtown.

We also thank the Village of Saranac Lake for keeping all of the downtown plants watered, thus encouraging growth and beautiful blooms.

But we still need your help. In addition to organizing flower plantings in the village, we maintain our seven parks with only a handful of people to accomplish all that is needed. We are in urgent need of volunteers from our community to assist with planting gardens and regular maintenance. The gardens which will benefit from your consideration include: Sears’ parking lot median, NBT Bank circle, and the Welcome Garden.

For more than 100 years, our mission remains the same: to preserve our VIS-owned system of parks and to enhance the natural beauty of our community. Our priority is maintaining our beloved parks and flowers for the enjoyment of all residents and visitors alike as well as for generations to come.

If you are a new or avid gardener interested in helping VIS, or live nearby one of these gardens and can lend a hand, please get in touch with us via our website, www.SaranacLakeVIS.org, or by calling 518-524-1268 today.

With sincere thanks,

Bobbie Karp, president

Village Improvement Society of Saranac Lake on behalf of all VIS volunteers