Marion Garden Group gala welcomes sign to town
A warm ocean breeze blew across the back lawn of Josiah and Elizabeth Hatch's home on Blankenship Cove last Thursday evening, 200-plus guests sipped wine and hors d'oeuvres, and the centerpiece of the gala stood in a pool of flowers welcoming people to Marion.
The event was the Marion Garden Group's July 26 gala, held to raise funds for town beautification efforts and to unveil the group's gift to the town: a carved-wood, black-lacquered-with-gold-leafing sign welcoming people to Marion.
It sits in the Hatches' backyard awaiting the permitting to be permanently installed at the intersection of Route 6 and Front Street.
"I came up with the idea a couple years go that the garden group could do more for town than just window boxes. But there weren't the funds, and there wasn't the resources. " Hatch said, sitting at a high-top, white-linen-cloaked table on her back veranda. "As normal, I refused to take 'no' for an answer. I went to the garden group and asked 'How about I do a plant sale every year?' So, for the last three years, I've been doing a plant sale."
It took plant sale profits, and some extra donations thrown in, but Hatch raised enough money -- $2,400 -- to purchase the grand sign.
In the meantime, Hatch and a handful of garden group members are trying to focus on long-term goals. Last year, Hatch got the garden group non-profit status, allowing the group to accept and spend donation money.
"Just putting up a sign isn't going to give the impact that I want to do. So I said that I would have a gala here and that every dollar would go toward landscaping and planting to beautify all of the neglected areas in Marion," Hatch said.
She proposes beautification projects to the cement islands for the off and on ramps of 195. She wants every major entrance into town literally have curb appeal, free of weeds, with purposely planted flowers and plantings.
"I was thinking about communities like Chatham, Osterville, Tiverton. They have roses, ground cover roses. It's just lovely. The difference you get in feeling when you see, the visual. It gives you a different feeling about a town," Hatch said.
But for now the focus is on the placement of garden group's intended sign donation.
"The sign was made by Chatham Sign Shop," she said, looking in the direction of the sign as it stood in her back yard the evening of the gala. "We will uplight it. We want it to go right on the corner (of Front Street and Route 6) at the Capt. Hadley House."
Selectmen, in general, seem favorable to the sign and its proposed location. John Waterman, the town's newest selectman, came to the gala.
"I told them that there's dispensation for a town sign, that the bylaws allow for all town signs," Waterman said.
Hatch said she's very grateful for people's reception of the garden club's beautification project.
"The support have been incredible," she said. "It has exceeded my expectations, and I have high expectations."