Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
May 18, 2024
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News
March 20, 2024
Volume 194 No. 12

Recognized

The beautifier of Picton Main Street recognized for years of tireless work
<p>Arlene Wright accepts her civic recognition award from Mayor Steve Ferguson. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)</p>
Arlene Wright accepts her civic recognition award from Mayor Steve Ferguson. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Mayor Steve Ferguson honoured Arlene Wright’s efforts to keep Picton looking bright and welcoming with a Civic Recognition Award at Council last Tuesday.

A woman for all seasons, Ms. Wright can be spotted day and night, in weather fine and foul, dressing up and adorning the street.

Former councillor Kevin Gale nominated Ms. Wright for the laurels. The award noted her initiative, volunteerism, passion for gardening and use of personal time to plant and care for flowers in the Town of Picton.

“On behalf of Council, thank you for improving the streetscape of Picton’s commercial core for the enjoyment by local residents and visitors to the County,” read Mayor Ferguson.

Mr. Gale recalled the words of Jimmy Doolittle: “there’s nothing stronger in this world than the heart of a volunteer.” He noted no words were truer in Prince Edward County.

“This community has saved millions in taxes, received services, programs and activities that have come on the strong backs of strong hearts,” Mr. Gale said. “Arlene Wright is one of those strong hearts.”

In her remarks to council, Ms. Wright said her her efforts over the previous decade were not to gain personal accolades but rather make her town beautiful and welcoming to one and all.

“As a life-long Picton resident, I have a deep pride in our community and I don’t want to feel embarrassed by the visual image our streetscape presents to residents and visitors alike,” she said.

Ms. Wright adopted nine green spaces and garden areas within town limits that had been neglected, becoming eyesores.

With hard work, a green thumb, and an eye for an arrangement, Ms. Wright ensured Picton was flowery in summer and festive in the holiday season. 

For much of the past decade, she noted, she had a “silent partner” — the late Owen Jones, who took care of the curbs and rid the street sides of sediment and litter. “His absence is clearly obvious.”

Ms. Wright also warned Council that she has limits. Retirement is nearing. She called on the Picton BIA, the municipality, and local business owners to start planning a collaborative solution to keep Picton beautiful when she hangs up her spade and gardening gloves for good.

“Like Owen, I’ve been a gap-filler and not the solution to a significant need. Before I reach my gardening expiry date, my goal is to see a viable plan in place – possibly monitored by the Picton BIA – to fill these glaring gaps.”

This text is from the Volume 194 No. 12 edition of The Picton Gazette
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