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Students, volunteers, spruce up town hall landscape

WARRENSBURG - Shortly after town employees dug up most of the shrubs in front Warrensburg's Emerson Town Hall May 28, a dozen of so volunteers including local high school students and Warrensburgh Beautification members planted new shrubs and plants in their place.

Club president Teresa Whalen stepped back for a moment and watched others work in the rain.

Twenty years ago, her group planted the shrubs that were just dug up last week. The town workers moved the plants to the Fred Flynn Memorial Park and the Riverfront Park, both off River St., to make room for the new ones.

"It's our focus now to plant native, low-maintenance species," she said. "And in observance of the town's upcoming bicentennial, the plants and flowers will be predominantly blue and yellow."

Whalen planned the new plantings, along with her partner, John Franchini, who happens to be employed as a landscape architect for the state Department of Transportation.

Warrensburg Beautification members Sandi Parisi, Peggy Knowles and Whalen worked at the site Thursday with Warrensburg high School students Allie Squires, Megan Pierce, Stuart Ketchum, Taylor Hughes and Morgan Edmunds.

They were joined by Ruth Fruda, Master Gardener for Warren County Cooperative Extension, and Julie Nathanson, horticulture educator for the agency.

They were assisted by town councilman John Alexander and his wife Lisa.

The new plantings include native evergreens and perennials, as well as hostas, which originated and thrive in China and Japan.

The high schoolers helping Thursday are members of the local ACT for Youth organization, which is involved in a wide range of after-school activities and volunteer work.

Whalen said her organization invited the students to help with the work beautifying town hall after her club members had consulted with Warrensburg high schoolers about their project to design and build a courtyard at the school.

Those plans are moving ahead now, school officials said Monday.

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