Having driven by the empty town-owned field across the street from Maple View Farm for 24 years, Susan Ranstead often thought how beautiful it would be if this field were filled with flowers. This year, she decided to take action to see if it would be possible. It seemed just the perfect time with the town opening up after COVID took away so much joy in the past 14 months. The project could bring the community together, perhaps draw in visitors who would then shop and eat here, and certainly be of great benefit to pollinating insects.
Ranstead’s first step was to consult with Director of Public Works Kirk Severance and First Selectman Scott Kuhnly, who was acting town manager at the time, to see if they thought it was possible to bring residents together to have a “plant-in” day. The men gave her permission to see if it was feasible, so she formed a committee to work on the various aspects of the possible project.
In order to get final approval from the Board of Selectmen, the group has to have determined how much parking would be necessary and how it would be accessed. It must be determined whether inland wetlands permits would be needed. The soil must be tested, and a list of acceptable native plants would be determined with the help of a horticulturist. The committee will also contact other groups who have managed a similar project to get their input. The members of the committee are project manager Melissa Zareck, Jennifer Eustace, Lise Keeney, Lauren Stuck, Leanne Sullivan and Ranstead.
Ranstead has petitioned the BOS to register Granby with Sustainable CT, an organization that will give 100 percent matching funds for every dollar the meadow committee raises. A Facebook page, Granby Meadow Project, has been started to keep the public abreast of progress and to serve as a fund-raising site if approval is granted. Final approval will also lead to the formation of a website.
Contingent upon final approval, Ranstead plans to have a name-the-meadow contest for lower school grades and an art contest for the upper grades. The art contest would serve to select a logo to be used in all public relation efforts, including the possibility of volunteer tee shirts.
A challenging project for sure, but one that would add some beauty and have a positive environmental impact.