SANDWICH — Rich Lonstein’s adopted traffic island is bursting with color — vibrant red, yellow, and pale pink blossoms pop through lush, green, native plant species that line each junction. 
A gardening enthusiast, Lonstein sunk hours into his adopted island that’s across from the East Sandwich post office. At the beginning of spring, he said, he worked to plant annuals, and native plant species he hopes will last through the fall.  
“I get 100 compliments a day if not more,” said Lonstein, manager of the town’s annual Traffic Island Beautification Program.
Launched in 2005, the program exists under the town of Sandwich’s Parks Department, . Also responsible for the maintenance of town grounds, flower beds, cemeteries and visible public areas, the Parks Department works with area businesses to maintain the islands. 
About 28 traffic islands have been adopted by businesses such as BJ’s Lawncare and Landscaping, Cafè Chew, and the Sandwich Women’s Club. Although participation in the program is free, business owners are charged with decorating their islands with flowers, shrubs and greenery.
Lonstein also provides each business with a two-sided, blue and white 12-inch sign  to display a message or the name of their company. 
More: The most beautiful place on Cape Cod? Try this Sandwich island
In the last month, he matched three islands to businesses, and currently, there are still islands available for adoption. In the coming months, Lonstein plans to post available lots every Thursday on the Sandwich News Facebook page. 
For Lonstein, the program has a positive effect on the aesthetics of Sandwich roads and provides sponsor exposure. 
While businesses must maintain their plots throughout the seasons, he said the islands help local businesses advertise in a forward-thinking way. Lonstein, a realtor at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Sandwich, said his island often catches the attention of potential clients.   
“These islands make everyone in the neighborhood feel good,” he said. “It also makes good business sense.”
More: Shawme Pond in Sandwich
Lonstein has managed the beautification program since July, but it was originally operated by Kaethe Maguire,  a 45-year Sandwich resident who has moved to Bourne. 
Maguire initiated the program because she was worried about the state of the traffic islands after the state Department of Transportation, formerly the state highway department, conducted construction along Route 6A in the 1990s. 
“We used to have a daffodil program and had just planted 10,000 daffodils, which they ruined and never replaced,” she said. “Cement and a lot of ugliness was left behind.”
The program started with 14 traffic islands at the time, and Maguire, along with Deborah Whitman, a Sandwich resident, secured funding for island signs with the help of the town of Sandwich’s Visitor Services Board. Because the board receives 2% of the tax for all bed and breakfast facilities and hotels, the board dedicates 20% of those funds on beautification, Maguire said. Every year, the program receives a grant for about six news signs.
More: Motorcyclist taken by MedFlight to Rhode Island Hospital after crash in Falmouth
“Throughout the years, Maguire said she has had to “keep on top of the people,” to maintain their islands. 
“You can’t have it out there looking awful while you are waiting for somebody else to maybe take it over,” she said.
Before Lonstein took the program over, he noticed quite a few neglected and abandoned islands, which is why he began beautifying an island himself. His mother was a master gardener and Lonstein said he “had a shovel and a rake” in his hand before anything else.
“I always had gardening in my blood,” he said. “It’s very therapeutic for me and I love it. I’m hoping others can see how pretty these islands can be.”
Another problem is watering the islands. While the town used to send a water truck to each island, the practice was discontinued. 
Despite the hiccups, Maguire said she received plenty of positive feedback about the traffic islands and enjoyed bringing happiness to community members and Sandwich visitors.  
Lonstein agreed.
“These islands give everybody a lift.” 
Get the Cape Cod news that matters delivered to your inbox.  Sign up for our free newsletters.


Lascia un commento

Il tuo indirizzo email non sarà pubblicato. I campi obbligatori sono contrassegnati *