GOOD NEWS!: A simple change can reap big rewards


By Melanie Lekocevic

Capital Region Independent Media

Seeds of Hope is encouraging homeowners to pretty up their mailboxes and add curb appeal to the community. Contributed photo

EDITOR’S NOTE: Here’s the latest in our ongoing “Good News! Stories” series. Sometimes, it’s the simple things that can make a big difference.

COEYMANS — It’s a simple concept that could reap an aesthetic reward — prettying up our mailboxes to add some curb appeal to the community.

That’s what volunteer Joan Radley and the new organization Seeds of Hope are trying to do with her campaign to clean up and pretty up the neighborhood.

“The main objective is to get people to clean up around their mailboxes,” Radley said. “If you can imagine — if you rode down Route 143 and the mailboxes were all flowery and pretty, it would really make a big impression.”

Seeds of Hope was started in the spring of this year and brought some local homeowners on board, but they are hoping their campaign continues to grow next year.

It’s an easy way to add some visual appeal to the town, she said — clear out the weeds, straighten up the mailbox if it’s crooked and plant some pretty flowers. And it’s cost effective, too.

“We came up with this because we felt it was an inexpensive way to go — just plant a few flowers around your mailbox,” Radley said. “You go to the mailbox every single day, six days a week, so why not make it a pretty destination?”

Radley is hoping the Seeds of Hope message and campaign gets out to more homeowners, particularly as 2023 will mark the town’s 350thanniversary, with plenty of pomp and circumstance to go with it.

“Next year for the 350th anniversary, we are going to push again to see if we can get more people involved,” Radley said. “I really want to get together and talk about getting some bulbs to plant in the fall this year so in the spring they will [bloom] around the mailboxes.”

A mailbox that has become a “pretty destination” thanks to Seeds of Hope’s initiative. Contributed photo

Moving forward, the group is hoping residents will take more steps to spruce things up around town.

“We’d also like to get people to do something like a container garden — just a couple of containers or a window box, just to dress up the area,” Radley said. “If you drive through town, around the mailboxes it is all weedy and the mailboxes are falling over. We also realized that a lot of people also don’t have their fire numbers on there and that is a very important thing.”

Having the building number posted on the mailbox is important in the event of a fire or other emergency, so first responders can easily identify the home when responding to an emergency call.

Seeds of Hope has also done some tidying up around town in public areas and gardens.

“We also did some of the public gardens — we worked around the soccer field sign, the veterans’ memorial in Coeymans Hollow by the highway garage, and we attempted to do the sign in Joralemon Park,” Radley said.

The park project presented some challenges, such as being too shady for many types of plantings and a couple of large trees that hampered their efforts, Radley said.

Adding curb appeal would brighten the community, according to organizer Joan Radley. Contributed photo

With the festivities planned to celebrate the town’s anniversary in 2023, cleaning up the neighborhood will be even more important, she said.

“Next year, with all of the activities that will be going on with the 350th anniversary, there will be lots of people coming into the town,” Radley concluded. “If the town was spruced up, it would be great.”

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