Haverhill's Brightside is a sleepy organization during the winter, but when spring arrives, it comes back to life.
This nonprofit organization has been beautifying the city for more than 20 years and is currently led by Lynda Brown, who is paid a stipend by the city to run the program.
"Our adopt-a-planter and adopt-a-park programs may be our best-known programs," Brown said about the 40 planter sites that come to life each spring along Bailey and Ginty boulevards, in Bradford Square, at GAR Park, the public library and other areas, along with the 79 little parks and traffic islands that bloom with color.
"As an example, the new (Vietnam) veterans memorial on Mill Street is an adopted park, and we also have little islands here and there that people adopt and care for," Brown said.
You can adopt a planter and never have to tend to it.
"We have three different-sized planters, and all you have to do is fill out an application and pay a yearly fee directly to Nunan's Florist and Greenhouses in Georgetown, which cares for the planters year-round," Brown said.
The large planters that decorate the median strip along a stretch of Ginty Boulevard each summer can hardly be missed. They have overflowing tropical-looking plants such as canna lilies, red begonia and potato vine.
Adopting a park or traffic island takes a bit more effort. Whatever you adopt, you must care for, Brown said.
"When you adopt a park, you are expected to plant flowers and care for them by watering and fertilizing, and you can also install certain things such as wooden benches, with our permission,'' she said.
In the case of larger parks, such as White's Park on Mill Street, the city will mow the grass, but the people who adopt the park must care for whatever flowers they plant.
"When you weed and remove yard waste, put it in paper leaf bags and the city will pick it up," Brown said.
Brightside also provides community gardens for adoption. One such garden, on River Street next to the Tacos Lupita restaurant, offers six plots. The other garden, at the corner of Harrison and Charles streets, offers 15 plots.
Most plots are taken, but from time to time one becomes available.
"People love these plots and use them to grow herbs and vegetables," Brown said. "You'd be surprised at what people plant, and they love these plots. They add a little green space to areas where there isn't any."
Haverhill's Brightside also coordinates the city's annual Earth Day cleanup.
"Dave LaBrode, one of our board members, takes charge of this effort every year," Brown said. "He finds sponsors, coordinates cleanup sites and organizes prizes for our raffle."
This year's Earth Day cleanup is projected to be Saturday, April 25, but that date could change.
For more information about Brightside projects, contact Brown at 978-374-2356.