Reader thinks city should do more to beautify area

With the publication of “The Pioneers” by David McCullough, many people including myself are hoping our historic city will be enjoyed by many new visitors and that they will be favorably impressed, share the good news about Marietta and return in the future.

In preparation for this anticipated influx of visitors, various organizations and individuals are putting their “best foot forward!” Marietta Main Street has once again purchased, installed and maintained 325 hanging baskets. I have been told installation of the wrap-around containers on Putnam Bridge will be delayed until the lamp posts are repainted (glossy black is my preference over dull green). I assume this task will be completed very quickly so these flower containers can be installed and enjoyed by visitors and residents for many months.

Marietta in Bloom members have planted their eight gardens – including the walking garden at Sacra Via West and the River Trail, the three brick entrance signs (Marietta 1788), the highway split at Muskingum and Front as well as the Valley Gem raised beds. This year MIB members also planted the two beds in front of the Salvation Army. All the Marietta in Bloom gardens will all color throughout Marietta. Volunteers worked in April to clean out the city-owned “bump outs” along Front Street; consequently many look better than they have in months.

Downtown churches continue to maintain their historic buildings and attractive landscaping. Some downtown merchants have new patios, display attractive planted containers, clean windows or new exterior paint colors and improved the appearance of their property. Local businesses are certainly leap years ahead of certain national chains which, for many months, have totally ignored the weeds, dead plants, etc. in their “landscaped” parking lot.

Campus Martius and Marietta College offer new exhibits focusing on the founding of our historic city and attractively landscaped grounds. The Convention and Visitors Bureau has worked diligently to spread the word about our small city and is prepared to welcome visitors.

The Washington County Public Library grounds are very attractive and receive regular maintenance. The entrance to Marietta Memorial Hospital is nicely landscaped and quite lovely.

So my question is, what is the city administration doing to get ready to show off our city? What specific plans are being implemented now, so Marietta leaves a very positive impression with all of our visitors? Here are some of my concerns and suggestions:

Is the city ordering additional trash receptacles with the expectation that all those visitors will be discarding more trash and will trash pickup by expedited if needed?

What does the city plan to do with the neglected levee area? The space from the fountain to the gazebo needs to be cleaned up! The “raised bed” at the intersection of Third and Ohio is a disgrace. Currently this area features mostly dead shrubs, very tall weeds and bare dirt. Not exactly an attractive feature along the Ohio River. The small park (Gateway) at the intersection of Front and Butler is neglected. This park is located on a major thoroughfare and should be weeded, spent daffodils leaves cut back, urns planted, etc.

The armory grounds feature overgrown evergreens and a weedy Veterans Walk of Honor. The installation of those large wrap-around containers is an attractive addition to this historic building, but more needs to be done. The visitors bureau is located in the armory. Shouldn’t this be a beautiful space that will favorably impress our visitors (and residents)? Finally, the landscaping at City Hall is certainly in need of major attention. Once again the word “neglect” come to mind when viewing the grounds around this renovated building.

If the city has plans to address these concerns, I will be very happy to hear about them. If not, why not? The adage “you have to spend money to make money” applies to Marietta City if those in leadership roles want to take advantage of the unique opportunity the publication of “The Pioneers” offers. I suggest our city administration take a walking tour to visit the levee area, the armory grounds, Gateway Park, etc., and then quickly proceed to implement positive improvements.

Judy Phillips

Marietta