Weiser hanging flower basket program has been discontinued

A city employee places a hanging flower basket on a light pole in downtown Weiser in the spring of 2022. The program is being discontinued this year. Photos by Philip A. Janquart
Philip A. Janquart
Those beautiful hanging flower baskets that graced city light poles for the last 14 years during summer, adding colorful vibrancy to the overall downtown aesthetics, won’t be around this year.
 Local not-for-profit VIBE (Visually Improving the Business Environment) announced that it has no choice but to discontinue the program.
 Linda Roundtree, of VIBE, said she spoke with several other sources to come up with new options for converting to a more manageable program, but no viable solutions are available at this time.
 “This has been an extremely hard decision to make,” said Roundtree, a local business owner who built the program from the ground up and whose time is now very limited.
 “It starts in February with sending out sponsorship letters, ordering flowers, mixing and preparing the soil, ordering and planting the petunias, and then nurturing them,” she said. “The reward is the day they go up downtown and seeing them fill out and creep over the pots and bloom their full color; it was both a relief and proud moment. 
 “My favorite part has always been early in the morning, before anyone is about, heading downtown on the four-wheeler at 5:30 a.m. and watching the sunrise and the light wake up the pretty colors of each hanging basket, all the way downtown. It was so beautiful, and it made me smile.”
 Getting the program off the ground, so to speak, was no easy task. It involved designing the hardware that would support the pots on the light poles. Roundtree enlisted the help of Weiser Iron Works to come up with the technical drawings.  
 The prototype was then sent to city officials who then sent the plans off to engineers to make sure the poles could bare the weight. It also involved finding sponsors to support the project.
 She said that after 14 years, the program has become too hard to manage while keeping up with her growing businesses at Station 30 Collectibles and More and her partnership business at The Merc at Station 30, with business partner Keith Bryant. 
 Bryant has been helping with the project for the last seven years.
 He said it would be much easier if the pots were not hanging on light poles.
 “Honestly, if we could get them on the ground and get pots that hold a little more water in them … you could do it every other day or every two days,” he said. “That would be a more beneficial way to do it.”
 However, even if that were to happen, he said, both Roundtree and Bryant simply have too many commitments and have not had much luck finding other community members who are willing to learn and help. 
 The process involves watering seven days a week, twice per day, at 5:30 a.m. and later in the evening, which takes quite a commitment and is also not easy on the body.
 “In the beginning, I was younger and it was easier to move,” said Roundtree who noted that she kept all 40 baskets at her home prior to transferring them to Downtown Weiser every year. 
 “It’s much harder now to lift 30 to 35 pounds of weight on and off risers while they are home,” she said. “A few years ago, it was questionable whether I could keep the program going, but then Keith and Sarah Imada stepped up to help. The last two years have been especially challenging as Keith and I have juggled the watering schedule each day, morning and night, limiting our time to leave town and both of us having a demanding professional schedule as well.”
 Bryant wears several professional hats, as Chef at Lazy Bear Ranch, partner/manager of the Merc, and as a photographer.
 Roundtree said she couldn’t have done any of it without the help of another individual, Allan Kowis, who donated much of his time to the project, especially in the beginning.
 “I’ve never been afraid of hard work or a challenge, but I realize it’s too hard for me to keep up with,” Roundtree said. “The program needs to shift to a combined hanging baskets and larger pots on the ground program.
 “I would gladly help someone take over the program, but at this time, we have no prospects. 
 I want to thank all of the individuals who trusted and believed in me from the beginning to invest in this program. It was a commitment they adhered to each year, so they are the real people to thank.”


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