Corridor beauty | Marigold Mile needs community support and TLC

For Nadine VanLieshout, driving down Oneida Street on Appleton’s southside evokes a mixture of pride, satisfaction and hope.
It’s a route she takes to her favorite financial branch (she’s been a Community First member-owner for 40+ years) and where she spends considerable time as a volunteer between late spring and fall as a Marigold Mile volunteer.
She describes the Marigold Mile as a “unique and beautiful” community treasure, a curbside flower bed that beautifies the corridor leading to and from downtown Appleton. (That’s Nadine kneeling in the foreground last year sharing her green thumb.)

“One of the proudest moments on Marigold Mile was when three of us were weeding early one morning,” she said. “A city bus driver stopped and told us how happy he was to have his route on South Oneida so he can be greeted by the beautiful flowers on both sides as he drives back and forth.”

marigold Planting and maintaining over 10,000 flowers curbside along Oneida Street is in need of some financial fertilizer as it costs about $10,000 annually. Community First is stepping up to provide funding support and accepting cash donations to boost the cause through the purchase of an icon at its Oneida branch (2626 S. Oneida Street). Additional in-kind support is being offered through a Community First Spread The Love radio message while donations can also be made at the Marigold Mile website.

“All work and maintenance is done by volunteers,” said Nadine, praising diehard volunteers Mike, Todd and Dale. “I enjoy the responsibility of weeding before the planting, during the growing season and deadheading so the flowers will be with us as long as possible. There is something special about an early Sunday morning when traffic is at its minimum weeding and getting dirt under my nails.”

“There is a lot of work to do with not that many volunteers,” said Nadine, making a pitch for others to get involved in one way or another. “Most like to plant the marigolds. I enjoy the weeding and deadheading – more quiet – and feels more productive to me.”

For years, Community First’s Lisa Mjos enjoyed the curbside beauty during her workday commute. Last summer, she and some colleagues/friends volunteered to assist. “They flowers are cheerful – we were happy to help,” Mjos said. “It’s something that makes our city beautiful and different.”

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