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IIB maps out fundraising plans

Even though fall’s first frost is coming soon, the flowers that have dotted downtown all summer are still in bloom. And so are the bills for them.

However Ironton’s all-volunteer beautification organization that started changing the floral landscape one planter at a time is nurturing a crop of fiscal health goals along with autumn bulbs.

This year the price tag to beautify the city’s shopping area cost Ironton In Bloom, the four-year-old grass roots group, $41,800 to a private commercial greenhouse to put out new pots, plants, pole planters and hanging baskets, along with maintenance.

With IIB fundraisers such as garden tours and flowers sales bringing in just under $5,500, the organization needed a little help from its friends. Although there is still a balance, corporations, small businesses and individuals have chipped away at the deficit knocking it down to under $12,000.

A breakdown of contributions so far includes $9,157 from seven corporations; $4,625 from 24 small business owners; $1,830 from seven civic groups; $1,000 from the city of Ironton; $950 from memorials; $5,390 from 56 individuals; and $5,498 from IIB fundraising projects.

However, making ends meet isn’t enough for IIB.

“It is becoming very expensive,” Carol Allen, IIB president, said. “We have to come up with a way so we know we can literally cover the cost of what we are doing and not find ourselves in the position we are now in to have to go to the public.”

That is why it has come up with a plan for 2012 called OPT — Ownership, Pride and Teamwork — that offers businesses and individuals the chance to support IIB’s work through different kinds of sponsorship.

“There are three different areas, not three levels,” she said.

The first is the corporate sponsorship where a particular area in the area will be chosen to be developed and maintained.

“If it is already developed, it will be the continual maintenance of the planting and watering of the place,” Allen said. “We do have one. St. Mary’s has adopted the splash park. … It is much lovelier area than it was early spring. … They will pay each year for maintenance for these particular pots and pole planters. All we do is send them an invoice for its costs per year, per items. … We know the spray park will continue in its present glory.”

Another level is the small business or individual where a pole planter placed in front of a business or store will be maintained.

The third is the civic level where individuals will either pay to maintain an area or will provide the work.

“We have groups like the garden club who take care of an area,” Allen said. “People can do the work and not pay any money. A civic sponsor you are giving either money or time or both.”

To get in a strong financial position will allow the IIB to expand a role it wants to focus on — education.

“We want to do more teaching, get more involvement with community gardens, initiating community building instead of having to raise money,” she said. “If we can get this initiated and get our finances in solid order, then we can go back to being innovative, which is what Ironton in Bloom is all about.”