Women's Committee makes Flat Rock sign 'more welcoming'

Enjoying the results of their beautification project are (from left): Johnda Siebel, Jackie Stroh, Jennifer Dunn, Felecia Wilder, Katie Hayes, Melissa Simon, Paula Loturco and Leslie Straub. Not photographed are members Amanda Sears and Blair Minton.

     What’s the first sight driving into the city of Flat Rock as you drive toward the plant entrance on Gibraltar off I-75?  Depends on when you looked. Right now you see a wonderfully tended garden bed, complete with bushes, annual and perennial flowers.

     The added touch: an old wagon wheel sporting the words “UAW 3000 Women’s Committee.”

     Committee Chair Jennifer Dunn said the welcome sign clearly was an eyesore.

     “We see it every morning on our way to work. When I noticed the neglected garden by the sign, I found out the city has an ‘adopt-a-sign’ program. It seemed like a natural thing for us to look into,” Dunn said.

     Committee member Paula Loturco is a Master Gardener so the committee was sure that it could get the welcoming area into a lovely sight.

     Most of the committee supported the plan and provided some fundraising work but also the physical work to weed, prepare soil, plant and then tend to the garden regularly.  The committee includes, in addition to Dunn and Loturco, Katie Hayes, Blair Minton, Amanda Sears, Jackie Stroh, Johnda Siebel, Leslie Straub, Melissa Simon and Felecia Wilder.

      Thanks to financial support from FRAP, the group was able to buy weed control fabric, mulch and initial plants. That was how the project started and it was a solid start.  Greg Montlouis donated a $100 Home Depot gift card and Ruhlig’s Greenhouse was helpful in choices but also making some donations to the project. Ruhlig’s gave the great advice – buy plants that are drought resistant and are hearty.

     Most of the items are – though the roses, daisies and other colorful offerings need water.

     “That is the problem. There is no water source there, so we have to bring in jugs of water,” Dunn said. “It’s been so hot and dry, that we’re doing that a lot more regularly than we planned!”

     While it was a lot of work and there is maintenance, the committee is pleased with the look and think it the greeting the FRAP workforce deserves on their drive into the plant.

     “It’s fabulous,” Loturco said. “It is just beautiful. And it will change next year with adding some different choices because of what we’ve learned.”

     The committee did raise a little bit more money after the biggest part of the beautification effort was complete. “If we can get some tulips planted in the fall, we’ll be happy to see them blossom next spring,” Dunn said.

      Even though only one committee member lives in Flat Rock, the committee agreed that Flat Rock is where they spend a lot of time plus the community has been supportive of the Women’s Committee during its many programs, including fundraisers. For those who went to the Valentine’s Bake sale, many of the items in the basket raffle, the cake raffle and the sweet table came from Flat Rock businesses. 

The welcome sign area before the committee did its magic wasn't very welcoming.
The welcome sign site was in sad shape before it was adopted by the FRAP Local 3000 Women's Committee.
The site is much more attractive and colorful after all the work that went into this beautification project.