By Pam Robinson
The Mount Vernon Azalea Committee is planning a third fitness trail, the Red Azalea Trail, at the riverfront to entice residents to exercise. As the name indicates, red azaleas will line a .6 mile trail along the riverfront sidewalks.
The committee hopes to grace the trail with a podium-style sign informing the community about the Red Azalea Trail and its two sister fitness trails, the Pink Azalea Trail and the White Azalea Trail, already enjoyed by Mount Vernon walkers and joggers.
Again, the name says it all. Exercise enthusiasts may feast their eyes on pink and white azaleas, depending on the road taken. The two fitness trails, each 1.1 mile, begin at the riverfront and run through the Downtown Historic District and the Welborn Historic District.
The Pink Azalea Trail begins at the intersection of Water and Main Street, then moves along 8th Street, and returns to the riverfront by way of Walnut Street. The White Azalea Trail begins at the intersection of Water and Mulberry Street, also moves along 8th Street, and returns to the riverfront by way of Locust Street. Gottman’s Electric has created round marker signs, now posted on street signs, to indicate the distance and direction traveled.
With their azaleas creating a bright path around downtown and at the riverfront, the Mount Vernon Azalea Committee has decided to take a giant step out of bounds and has planted 300 daffodil bulbs on the far east “tree” terrace at the riverfront. Spring will bring a huge splash of color to the little city built on the Ohio River.
Of course, no one need wait until spring to see a rainbow of color along the two established fitness trails and at the riverfront. The leaves are wearing their fall hues of red, orange and gold along the fitness trail, and with the mild autumn, pink azaleas are magically in full bloom on the berm adjacent to the far east “tree terrace” at the riverfront.
The Mount Vernon Azalea Committee is grateful to the generous donors who have made city beautification possible. In 2010, local businesses funded the purchase of 100 azaleas, planted on public property, i.e., the Mount Vernon Post Office and the Colisseum.
Next, a grant was awarded, with Posey County part of the three counties known as Connect South West Indiana. This grant provided for another 200 azaleas along with mulch. These shrubs were, again, planted on non-profit or public property.
In 2012, the Mount Vernon City Council awarded the committee up to $2,000 to develop azalea fitness trails. The signage along the two established fitness trails has been funded, for example, through this award. The azalea committee itself pays for maintenance items such as fertilizer and weed killers. In addition, the azalea committee has received $100 from the Mount Vernon Garden Club for daffodils and the azalea committee added another $135 to complete the purchase of 300 bulbs. The azalea committee has derived its funds from proceeds of the annual azalea sale, started last year. The second annual sale is scheduled for April, 2013.
Mount Vernon Azalea Committee members volunteer their time and labor to apply the fertilizer and mulch—and to keep ahead of the weeds. They aren’t afraid to get dirt under their nails or to bend their backs. Residents may want to express appreciation for the tireless work of Marge Bostick, Nancy Case, Mary Fuelling, Judy Heberer, Diane Heberer, Marcie Miller, Judy Moore, Brenda Ketcham, Phyllis Levin and Ann Simpson.
An application is pending for Mount Vernon to become certified as an official “Azalea City.” The committee is excited about improving the life of Mount Vernon residents and their visitors in offering them beauty, exercise, and community pride.
By Pam Robinson
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