Donations being collected for matching grant to ‘Beautify Orange’

  • From left to right; Orange Revitilization Partnership (ORP) member and former State Rep. Denise Andrews, ORP member and muralist Susan Marshall, ORP member Will Johnson, ORP member Ann Miller and Orange Select Board member Pat Lussier volunteering to collect donations in town. Contributed Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 6/23/2021 10:40:30 AM
Modified: 6/23/2021 10:40:36 AM

ORANGE — With a June 30 collection deadline encroaching, the town of Orange is seeking a total of $12,500 in donations both online and in person this Saturday for a matching Patronicity grant to place two murals, picnic tables and benches in the center of town.

This Saturday, June 26, from 10 a.m. to noon, volunteers from the Orange Revitalization Partnership (ORP) and the town will be collecting donations at the intersection of South Main, and East and West River streets. Donations may also be made online at https://bit.ly/2UoUxJ3. This is an all-or-nothing campaign, meaning the town must raise $12,5000 for the matching grant by June 30 or all donations will be returned.

As of June 21, the Patronicity page had raised $3,390 toward the $12,500 goal. If Orange reaches this by June 30, the state will match fundraising for a total project budget of $25,000 for installation of the benches and tables across downtown, as well as two beautiful murals.

According to the patronicity.com donation campaign page, the “conveniently placed” benches and tables within downtown neighborhood parks will provide the potential for community relaxation. These will be enhanced with murals “highlighting the beauty of Orange and the talent of local artists.”

“The downtown neighborhood serves as the commercial center and community anchor for Orange residents,” reads the page. “This program and your support will help activate spaces and create a more versatile downtown neighborhood, better prepared for passive recreation.”

Throughout 2014 and 2015, the town collaborated with the MassDevelopment and Franklin Regional Council of Governments to develop a community vision for Orange’s downtown. Consultants recommended “tactical improvements” for community place making — which included the proposed benches, tables and murals.

“Since the 2015 visioning plan’s inception, Orange has undertaken several projects towards the goal of place making,” reads the Patronicity page. “This project will capitalize on recent success and connect the neighborhoods recreational amenities. Generous donations made toward this project will go a long way to making downtown Orange the vibrant and active neighborhood, as it was portrayed in the Hulu TV series, ‘Castlerock.’”

The project seeks to increase community sense of place and recreation accessibility, in the communities most densely used neighborhood. Following the flight of the New England mill industries, the town of Orange transitioned into a period of economic decline. Like many New England mill towns, once bustling and vibrant mill buildings now lay dormant, reads the page. Despite this collapse, Orange has persevered and its commercial center has now become a vibrant community anchor playing host to several community events and gatherings throughout the year.

Located less than a quarter mile of the community’s senior center and half a mile from multiple schools, the downtown neighborhood serves several communities, and the goal of the revitalization project is to increase the downtown neighborhoods accessibility with all donations going directly towards this goal.

Tiered donations allow patrons to give anywhere from $20 to $50 for a thank you email. Donors who give $250 or more will receive a personalized thank you email and project updates, as well as have their name or organization included on an appreciation board on the Town of Orange website.

Larger donations, between $550 and $815, will see patrons contributing to the installation of wheelchair-accessible tables, benches and the completion of the mural, and have their name included alongside other contributors in the park dedication. For $1,000, “exceptional supporters” will be personally invited to the ribbon cutting ceremony for the park.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.


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