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Funds for flowers: Organizations raise money for petunia baskets

Flower baskets along streets in downtown Jamestown usually feature wave petunias, as shown. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Since 2005, baskets of flowers have sprung up in downtown Jamestown as the weather warms, each year spreading a little bit further — down First Avenue and onto 10th Street Southeast.

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The flower baskets, each containing wave petunias, will require about $11,000 to purchase and maintain this year, and with about $5,000 raised, the groups partnering together to bring the flowers to Jamestown are looking for more donations.

“We encourage everybody to participate if they wish,” said Charlie Kourajian, ambassador for the Jamestown Downtown Association. “… we encourage gifts of all denominations.”

The flowers are a cooperative endeavor between the Downtown Association and the Jamestown Area Chamber of Commerce’s City Beautification Committee, as well as the city of Jamestown.

The effort to bring a bit of green — and magenta and purple — to Jamestown every year began with just three poles and six flower baskets in 2005. Since then, the flower initiative has grown to 57 poles and 114 flower baskets.

Each year, the Downtown Association spearheads the fundraising for the flowers, and the Beautification Committee contributes any additional money required.

The city of Jamestown provides the equipment for watering the flowers and stores the flower pots during the off-season at no cost, and the city forester provides advice regarding which flowers to get.

This year’s flowers will cost $4,275, and the watering may cost about $6,600, depending on how much rain Jamestown receives. Sometimes the flowers need to be watered every day and fertilized a couple times a week, Kourajian said.

 “It’s a Jamestown beautification, not just Main Street,” said Paulette Ritter, a member of the Beautification Committee. “We want everyone to donate.”

Individuals and businesses have the option of adopting a pole — each with two baskets of flowers — for $150, but smaller donations are also appreciated, Kourajian said, noting that not everyone can afford to donate $150.

The flower basket beautification project began with John Grabinger, who as a member of the Jamestown City Council in 2005 commented on how nice the hanging flowers looked at North Dakota State University.

The City Council liked the idea but didn’t want to fund the project, Kourajian said, and eventually the partnership between groups grew to fill that need.

“The nice thing is that people appreciate the flowers,” Kourajian said. “… they really are attention-getters.”

The flowers will likely go up by the end of May, weather permitting, Ritter said.

Donations for the flower baskets can be sent to the Jamestown Downtown Association at Box 1026, Jamestown, ND, 58402.

For more information about the flower baskets, call Kourajian at 320-3015.

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at (701) 952-8453 or by email at