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Signs of Growth Give Us Hope

So many aspects of our daily lives came to a crashing halt this spring as we found ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic.

Our plants, however, did not get the Memo. Thank goodness!

As Downtown Scranton businesses phase into re-opening, planters throughout the historic Business District are filled with fresh flowers thanks to the efforts of Scranton Tomorrow’s Safe, Clean & Green Ambassadors. Steve Ward, team leader, cared for 1,200 new plants at his home during the shutdown this spring to ensure they would be in good health once stay-at-home orders were lifted. To date, 8,400 spring annuals and 1,500 summer flowers have been planted with assistance from Penn State Master Gardeners in Lackawanna County.

It’s been a challenging time as we cope with the effects of a global pandemic, but Steve prefers to focus on opportunities, not obstacles, right now. “Adversity brings opportunity,” he said. “We don't live in a vacuum. When something is taken away, it creates a chance for something new to takes its place.”

In keeping with the state’s guidelines for health and safety during the pandemic, the Ambassadors modified their plans for spring projects.

“The economic uncertainty and cultural upheaval made this time difficult for all of us, but when I look at the Downtown, I see signs of hope,” Steve said. “Green growth poking out from the planters reminds us that life renews itself.

"The contrast of social distancing and people being friendlier with a masked greeting shows that we have risen to the challenge of the new normal. The generosity of our community and the support for small businesses, unlike any like any time prior, gives me pause to be thankful to be part of Downtown Scranton."

In that spirit, the Ambassadors focused on what they could do – not on what they couldn’t do – in the first quarter. As a result, they:

  • Cleaned and prepared 135 sidewalk planters, and installed 31 new sidewalk planters;

  • Responded to nearly 100 inquiries from community members regarding parking, directions and amenities in the Downtown;

  • Collected 108 bags of litter weighing more than 2 tons from Downtown streets and sidewalks;

  • Swept 163 blocks and cleaned 65 light posts; and

  • Reported 32 maintenance issues to proper authorities, including broken traffic signs, vandalism, graffiti and blight.

None of this would be possible without support from community partners. With a comprehensive 5-year plan underway, Scranton Tomorrow is pleased to announce new partnerships with Lackawanna County 4-H and the Penn State Master Watershed Steward Program.

See what’s next for the Safe, Clean & Green Ambassadors.

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