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Downtown blooms early this year

The annual Art in Bloom event is a week away, but downtown Medford already has been decked out with more than 70 flower baskets.

Spurred by the downtown beautification and advocacy organization known as SPARC, flowers are now hanging above Main Street from Bear Creek to the One West Main building and along Central Avenue from Sixth to 10th streets.

“It really gives a feeling of vibrancy and aliveness downtown,” said Richard Barney, a longtime downtown advocate. “It adds some color to the downtown and makes it feel like a safer environment.”

Former Medford Mayor Lindsay Berryman, a member of the SPARC steering committee, said downtown parks have been regularly decorated since her tenure that began nearly 20 years ago.

“We were try to bring amenities to downtown that make it a more attractive center,” Berryman said. “We’ve given downtown a bunch of energy.”

A total of 77 institutional and private donors chipped in to buy 74 baskets, Berryman said. Rogue Community College and Southern Oregon University jumped on the bandwagon, as did the Chamber of Medford/Jackson County.

“As the project rolled out, it got bigger and bigger and more and more people wanted to purchase baskets,” she said.

“It has been inspirational that so many property owners, business owners and individuals have supported the program.”

The baskets were installed by Four Seasons Nursery and will be maintained through the end of September, Barney said.

SPARC, formed in fall 2016, stands for safety, parking, amenities, redevelopment and connectivity.

When the winter months roll around, the plan is to hoist lights to replace the flowers, Barney said.

“This really shows pride in the community,” he said.

— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or gstiles@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness or www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.

More than 70 flower baskets have been hung in downtown Medford as part of an effort to spruce up the city center.