MERIDEN — A volunteer crew from Eversource Energy operated a bucket truck to help paint the roof of the traffic tower on the corner of West Main and Hanover streets, while members of the nonprofit youth group Ball Headz took off a few hours from school to help out.
The traffic tower, built in 1925, was in desperate need of some sanding, new lens covers and a fresh coat of paint. David Cooley, head of Making Meriden Business Center, was a member of the Maloney High School Key Club that painted the tower in 1978, so its maintenance is personal.
“I don’t think people realize it when you’re driving by, but it needed it,” Cooley said. “This is something I’ve got to take care of.”
Painting the traffic tower was only part of sprucing up downtown. The Casertano family, which owns plant beds in Cheshire, donated a truckload of fall flowers and soil to plant in the window boxes at businesses on West Main and Colony streets.
Volunteers from the Downtown Neighborhood Association, the Downtown Beautification Committee and Ball Headz gathered early Tuesday to fill the 200 flower pots, continuing a program that started last spring. Former mayor Michael Rohde and beautification committee member David Grodzicki also helped with the planting. Prentis Printing Solutions Inc. and Iliano’s Restaurant-Pizzeria also supported the effort.
“I like that they are sprucing up the old landmarks like the traffic tower that have been neglected for far too long,” said Joseph Florio, owner of the Silver City Ballroom,16 Colony St. “It’s great that the Casertano family have donated flowers for the flower boxes that were built by Wilcox Tech students because flowers are quite expensive and many businesses just don’t have the time or money to keep up with them.”
The groups later gave a plaque to the Casertano family for the thousands of flowers donated to the program.
“Today, 50 mums and 40 ornamental kale were delivered by Casertano’s Greenhouse and Farms,” Lisa Biesak, downtown fellow, Making Meriden Business Center, said in an email. “This is the third round of floral donation to the downtown beautification effort (spring, summer and now fall). They are also a contributing partner to the decorations for our YuleFest event."