hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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January 17, 2013

Despite concerns, Brightside to continue plantings, cleanups, fairs

For 22 years, the Brightside volunteer organization has planted flowers, cleaned parks and done other projects to beautify the city.

But as organizers began to plan for 2013, they feared Brightside would not be able to accomplish all it had in past years. The group needed more members and leaders.

The group’s annual organizational meeting eased those concerns, however, and Brightside has a full agenda planned for the year. The cleanups, plantings and other events will go on.

Brightside President Elaine Barker gathered veterans and new members last week in City Hall to plan out the year and assign group leaders and volunteers to projects.

For his fourth year, Dave LaBrode will organize the annual Clean Up Day on April 20.

“We are just beginning to touch base with our past sponsors and volunteer committee,’’ LaBrode said. “If you know anyone interested in becoming a sponsor or being on the committee please let us know. I would like to meet the first week of February.”

Brightside plans to expand its Community Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) program this year with the help of Michael Schroth of the Bradford Grange. The organization wants to continue the community garden efforts and establish an agricultural commission in Haverhill, said member Carol Davies.

Those planning the commission said it would help the city save its farms and farmlands and preserve open space from real estate development.

The annual adopt-a-park series starts in the spring. Groups from Brightside seek out people, businesses and organizations to take over the care and gardening of a traffic island, park entrance, gardens within a park and any other city-owned parcel of land.

Brightside plans to follow up on its successful fall community television programs in October with Leota Saratte and Bloomfest followed by Marlene Stasinos and her Pumpkin Festival. In November, Larry Olasky aired a presentation that explained Haverhill’s Bradford Rail Trail project and Brightside’s participation in the project. Brightside plans to hold Bloomfest this October at Swasey Park, a date yet to be determined.

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