Dick DeGray waters the flowers in Pliny Park, in Brattleboro, using his new water truck on June 25, 2021.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.  

BRATTLEBORO — To support its flower program, Downtown Brattleboro Alliance is turning to crowdfunding, a tool successfully deployed in the past.

“Recent acts of vandalism in downtown Brattleboro have brought up feelings of anger, discouragement, and a desire to turn negatives into positives,” states a website for the crowdfunding effort. “We have been asked how the community can support and protect our vibrant Bloom, the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance flowers program.”

Last week, DBA set up the fundraiser at gofund.me/a61fce4c. From 9 a.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Sunday, an anonymous donor will match dollar for dollar raised by the community up to $3,700.

DBA Executive Director Stephanie Bonin hopes the campaign will reach the $7,500 goal by Sunday morning.

“We’re really thankful for the anonymous donor,” she said, describing how smaller donations will feel more effective thanks to the matching.

DBA’s entire budget for the flower program known as Bloom is $26,000. Bonin said she feels raising $7,500 would be an achievable goal.

Bloom covers flowers, gas and insurance for a truck used for the beautification efforts, damage and advocacy. Bonin said every year, there’s damage — sometimes, it’s due to weather and unfortunately, some of it’s from mischief.

Support our journalism. Subscribe today. →

The DBA board is in support of having more cameras installed downtown, a project Dick DeGray has been calling for at Select Board meetings. The town is now exploring a project to set up a satellite police station at the Transportation Center on Flat Street and replace cameras in the parking facility.

DeGray is “the tireless volunteer on the front lines who has had the vision for years and ensures the flower magic happens every season,” states the GoFundMe page. He plans and executes the flower arrangements. When he’s taken to Facebook to talk or show off flowers, he’s received a lot of community support voiced in the comment sections.

In 2019, crowdfunding for downtown flowers was matched by software design and development company Green River. And during the COVID-19 pandemic, donations from the community paid for local artists to get free meals from local restaurants via a DBA initiative.

DBA is funded through special assessments of downtown property owners, starting its year with about $80,000 from the assessments then relying on grants, fundraising and entrepreneurial efforts to come up with more money.

Last year, the former flower truck broke down and DBA had to fundraise for a replacement. The group raised $29,310 to support the costs of buying a used truck and Bloom as a whole.

“Our flowers bloom beginning May through November with 95 glorious buckets adding color and vibrancy, along with 30 hanging baskets, 20 racks, and 23 large window boxes,” states brattleboro.com/downtown/bloom. “Our flowers showcase our community pride and resiliency during these challenging times.”