The home of Carol and Michael Bens on Amherst Street is a 2020 Beautification Award winner.

The home of Carol and Michael Bens on Amherst Street is a 2020 Beautification Award winner.

Photo provided by the City of St. Clair Shores


Green thumbs make St. Clair Shores more beautiful

Annual Beautification Awards announced

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published October 16, 2020

 Mareka Bartnik’s home on Alger Street is another winner.

Mareka Bartnik’s home on Alger Street is another winner.

Photo provided by the City of St. Clair Shores

 Cathy Baetens’ Jefferson Avenue home features many perennials that she enjoys sharing with her neighbors.

Cathy Baetens’ Jefferson Avenue home features many perennials that she enjoys sharing with her neighbors.

Photo provided by the City of St. Clair Shores

 Carol Bens, of Amherst Street, said she just loves flowers.

Carol Bens, of Amherst Street, said she just loves flowers.

Photo provided by the City of St. Clair Shores

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ST. CLAIR SHOPES — With more residents taking walks and bike rides to get out of the house this year, attractive yards and gardens are more recognizable than before.

“We’re here to recognize three residents and three businesses that have been selected for the great job they’ve done with beautifying their property ... making St. Clair Shores such an attractive place to live (and) work,” said Councilman John Caron Sept. 21 as he and Mayor Kip Walby handed out the 2020 Beautification Awards in front of City Council.

This year’s Beautification Awards were awarded to Cathy Baetens on Jefferson Avenue, Carol and Michael Bens on Amherst Street, and Mareka Bartnik of Alger Street.

Baetens, who has lived on Jefferson Avenue at Bayview Street since 1987, said she loves to share her plants with others.

“I’m mostly into perennials. I buy a lot of bulbs online,” she said. “I do a lot of reblooming flowers and then they spread and then I divide them. I share my plants with friends ... people walking up and down Jefferson. Things just keep growing.”

Baetens said she weeds once a week and does big cleanups in the spring and fall, but other than that, doesn’t do too much daily work in the garden.

“I was thrilled” to be named a Beautification Award winner, she said. “I just love flowers and I take real pride in just taking care of my property, not just my flower beds.”

The Bens’ gardens on Amherst Street, between Jefferson and Greater Mack avenues, include a riot of color from annuals.

“I grow the basic impatiens, I love those marigolds, there’s a whole bunch of other flowers that I grow,” Carol Bens said. “They’re just gorgeous. Right now my flowers are doing so well, I’m not buying any mums.”

She said gardening is something she does for her own peace of mind.

“It’s peaceful to me. I love doing my yard,” she said. “If you buy a home, you should take care of it.”

Bens also cares for a flower bed at Veterans Memorial Park.

“I am thrilled to death. I really am, and I’m so appreciative,” she said. “I just love flowers, love my house.”

Walby congratulated the winners on their beautiful yards.

“Thank you very much for making St. Clair Shores and your neighborhood a better place,” he said.

City Council also honored three businesses for their beautiful grounds: Dockside Canvas Company on Jefferson Avenue, Yates Cylinders on Industrial Drive, and St. Clair Tooth Company on Harper Avenue.

Caron said the large photographs taken by local photographer Robert Stark on the side of Dockside Canvas Company are “just absolutely stunning.”

“It just makes not only the property just pop out, but it just really showcases what St. Clair Shores is all about,” he said.

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