DRACUT — Kathy Gauthier stood outside Town Hall on a recent Monday afternoon and looked over at the small shrubs by the front entrance. As president of the Dracut Garden Club, there is so much she would change.
“It’s blah,” Gauthier said as her eyes scanned the outside of the brick building. “Wouldn’t you call it blah?”
In her hand was a proposed plan she and other club members hope to bring to fruition by next year. They’re calling it the “Town Welcome Garden” — a two-year project aimed at beautifying the entrance to Town Hall while also giving community members an opportunity to participate by donating plant divisions from their own gardens.
Gauthier said she came up with the idea for a garden outside the building. She said many people mistake Town Hall’s back door as the main entrance.
“People come up here and it doesn’t look welcoming so we want them to feel like ‘Wow, I want to go up there,’” Gauthier said. “That’s why we’re doing the garden, is to bring the color and the texture and all of that to the front of the building.”
The garden club is still in the very early stages of the multi-phase plan. Members have met with town staff to go over where they can plant the garden. In an email to a Sun reporter, Gauthier shared the project’s timeline. They hope to plant the garden by May-June 2020 and host a dedication ceremony in July or August.
“We’re trying to make a community garden that everybody can contribute to. It’s such a bland area near the front door,” said Sarah Ard, the garden club’s publicity chair.
Ard added that the garden, aside from beautifying the outside of the building, will also be used to promote native plants and attract pollinators.
“That’s always been our focus anyway, is to promote the environment,” she said.
Some of the plant donations the club is seeking include: Hinoki cypress, inkberry, itea, and the Shasta daisy.
Gauthier shared some details of the proposed plan. She pointed to a row of neon orange flags plucked into the grass.
“There’ll be a walkway that goes through it and it will be handicap-accessible,” she said. “There will be a boulder with a plaque on it that names it the ‘Town Welcome Garden.’”
Town Manager Jim Duggan said he was thrilled when the club members approached him with the idea to spruce up the front entrance.
“It’s something that I think would be beautiful and I think it will absolutely enhance and continue to beautify an already attractive building,” he said.
Duggan said there’s a particular area that can’t be planted over, which is something the club has taken into consideration.
“Looking at what to do in the front area has been an ongoing conversation, but it hasn’t risen to the surface of any action,” he added. “We’re very fortunate to have the garden club step up and give the offer.”
DPW Director Ed Patenaude recently showed the club members the grounds and where the sprinkler systems are so they would be more informed in creating a layout for the garden.
“Flowers make everything look better, so I think it’s a good project,” Patenaude said. “I’m sure it’s gonna look beautiful when it’s done.”
Anyone interested in donating plant divisions or learning more information about this project or can contact the club on its Facebook page, or email Gauthier at email@example.com.