Champaign may increase flower island fees

November 2, 2017 by  

Participants in Champaign’s popular flower-island program may be facing increased fees. The program was the idea of realtors Tom Harrington Jr. and George Shapland, who started it in 1988 to beautify the city.

Every year, those businesses who want to participate contribute enough to cover the cost of creating a flower bed outside their door. After this, a member of the park district visits the location to determine what the business wants in their flower bed, as well as the best flowers for their site. All the flower beds have to be 100 square feet at the minimum.

Joe DeLuce, the executive director of the park district, said there are five dedicated horticulturists on the district’s staff who have a wealth of knowledge and experience in landscaping and designing flower beds. They get an understanding of what the business wants, and then get to work. They plan the flower bed, buy the plants, install them, maintain the bed, and then clean up the site at the season’s end.

Currently, the park district charges $11.10 per square foot for this, but officials are considering raising the fee to $12. The increase would go directly into funding the program, which raises only 62% of the funds it needs at the current rate.

Issues like this, which impact many community members, may get a boost if officials contact a newsletter printing company and have them design an update letter for residents.