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Residents make Eastpointe beautiful

By: Sara Kandel | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published March 11, 2013

 The Eastpointe Beautification Commission recognized eight homeowners and one business at their annual landscape awards March 6.

The Eastpointe Beautification Commission recognized eight homeowners and one business at their annual landscape awards March 6.

Photo by Sara Kandel

EASTPOINTE — Residents with pride were recognized for making the City of Eastpointe a more beautiful place to live at the Eastpointe Beautification Commission’s annual Landscape Awards at City Hall March 6.

Commission members were joined by city officials and elected representatives to thank eight homeowners and one business that maintained picturesque landscapes throughout the 2012 year. 

“This is one of the positive events where we recognize people for how they have managed to invest in their homes,” said City Manager Steve Duchane. “It’s not only enjoyable, but I think it is critical to the sense of community.

“You value your home, as the examples in this community, maybe more so than anyone, because look what you have done to your property. Everyone that is here tonight, we thank you. The people here in this room tonight are creating the true value in the community.”

The people Duchane was referring to were award winners: Donald and Lorna Storrs, Don and Theresa Brookins, Vanessa Adair, Gerry Howard, Sante Cervini, Andrew Peak, Matt and Colleen McIver, an unlisted resident in the 24000 block of Marine and Lipari Landscape and Lawn Service.

The commission has been handing out awards to artistic landscapers in the community for decades.

It’s something they hold so important that, despite having their budget slashed to non-existence, the commission continues to remain active in the community and host the awards ceremony each year.

Commission members say they do it because they want to give back to the community that has given so much to them.

“You have to give something back — you just have to; that’s what we’re doing, and inspiring people to do, and it’s beautiful,” said Betty Bishop, a commission member.

“It’s about giving back to the community,” said Shirley Lappi, the commission’s secretary.

“It’s what Jack Kennedy said in his inaugural address on a local level versus a national level. Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country. Ask not what your community can do for you, but what you can do for your community,” she said.

Many in attendance said, in one way or another, that the importance of the commission and the residents they recognize reaches beyond aesthetics. Lappi even attributed it to her decision to buy a home in the city.

“I’m from Boston, and when I moved back, the reason I decided to move to Eastpointe, and particularly my neighborhood, is because I had to see a patient in the area and I just thought the houses were so beautiful, the landscaping was so beautiful and I thought, ‘Well, if people care this much about their property here, then this is where I want to live,’ and I actually bought a house in that neighborhood for that reason,” she said.

Mayor Pro Tem Bill Sweeney said well-kept homes and clean neighborhoods are contagious and even one beautifully landscaped yard can inspire neighbors to improve their homes and yards. And for that, he thanked each award recipient and commission member.

“For those of you that don’t know, the impact you make on your neighborhood, and thusly on the city, is far greater than what you experience when you pull up in your own driveway,” Sweeney said at the end of the ceremony. “I promise you that … and I thank you all.”

After treating guests to coffee and cake, the annual event came to an end, but the successful completion of another awards night is just a check on the list for many commission members. They are already busy planning their May 11 plant exchange at the Michigan Military Museum, adopting out flower beds, preparing to tend the commission flower bed and beginning their work for next year’s awards night.

They scour each residential street in the city four times a year — winter, spring, summer and fall — noting the addresses of homes with impressive landscaping. It’s a long process.

On the first scouting trip of the year, many commission members come home with dozens of addresses from their area. They try to narrow the list on each subsequent trip, but sometimes rather than doing that, they end up adding to it, when a home that they missed before suddenly catches their eyes.

What makes the process even more cumbersome as of late is they are doing it all while understaffed. The commission traditionally has about 12 members. This year, they have only eight. For months, they’ve been actively trying to get new members to join, advertising the open seats on the city website and in newsletters, but, so far, no one has applied.

Applications for the commission are available at City Hall, and while they will
continue planting flowers and doing everything else they do regardless of how many members they have, every fourth Thursday, when they gather at City Hall for their monthly meeting, they still hope they’ll find applications from interested residents who wish to join them in their mission of making Eastpointe a beautiful place to live.

For more information on the Eastpointe Beautification Commission, call Public Information Assistant Bill Driskel at (586) 445-3661, ext. 2229.