By Christina Calloway
PNT senior writer
Portales MainStreet Manager Sandy Van der Veen and Portales Deputy Clerk Veda Urioste want to brighten up the downtown area with splashes of purple and green.
In an effort to beautify downtown, Portales MainStreet businesses will be recipients of New Mexico Clean and Beautiful funds, which will go to sprucing up storefronts with flower pots filled with salvia flowers and hosta plants.
“It’s great when there are multiple community partners,” said Van der Veen, who was approached by Urioste who wanted to help with her program.
Urioste uses the funds she receives from the program to maintain yearly cleaning projects such as the Great American Cleanup in the spring and Trek for Trash in October.
This year Urioste received $9,400 for the program and $1,000 will go to the Adopt-a-Flower Pot program.
When Urioste applied for this year’s grant she teamed up with Van der Veen to continue MainStreet’s flower pot program because it fits Urioste’s beautification goals for the city.
“This is our downtown, so why not work together,” Urioste said.
The women added that these types of projects also promote camaraderie in community.
“Who doesn’t like pretty flowers downtown,” Van der Veen added.
Van der Veen said she was also surprised that Urioste was able to receive more grant money this year compared to last year’s $7,900 because she says grant money is diminishing at all levels.
“It’s harder, people aren’t upping grants right now. They’re usually cutting them,” Van der Veen said.
About 25 businesses will participate in the Adopt-a Flower Pot program and the funds are used to purchase flowers, plants, pots and soil. The materials for the project are also bought locally.
“We just want to bring a pop of color to downtown,” Van der Veen said. “Business owners have told me they didn’t have a green thumb but a lot of them that are already participating are doing a great job.”