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Local Resident Concerned Over Peekskill Flower Pots

Bernie Stringer is unimpressed with some of the city's flower pots this year, Patch answers his questions.

The following is an email Patch received from Bernie Stringer on June 25, 2012:

What’s happening with the flower pots in Peekskill this summer? Are they finally done? Is this it? About two weeks ago I went into the BID office and asked Jason where the flowers were for the big pots that dress up downtown Peekskill. He explained that there was a change in the contract process, but the flowers would be along shortly. Fine. OK. Now the flowers have arrived. Some pots have beautiful vines that, hopefully, with proper care will climb bamboo poles. I’m sure those will be beautiful, but what about the other pots. They have a few low flowers that don’t even begin to fill the pots they’re in much less flood over their sides and cascade down as they have in past years. I understand I need to be patient and that flowers need time to grow. But I also have a memory and I remember that this time last every pot in Peekskill was overflowing with flowers.

Finally, yes the flowers were late this year, but why are some pots so well done and some so poorly done? I cannot stress enough how important the flower pots are to the beautification of Peekskill.

Bernie Stringer

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Editor's Note: a Response to Bernie:

In mid-May, the City of Peekskill handed the flower barrel project back to the Peekskill Business Improvement District, according to BID Director Jason Angell. The City had handled and paid for the barrels for the last few years, Angell said. The BID budgeted $10,000 for the flower barrels, put out a Request for Proposal and received responses from Shades of Green and Manzer Landscaping. They awarded the bid to Manzer because it offered to do twice as many barrels, and to plant fall barrels after the summer season, Angell said. Manzer planted 105 barrels by June 16 with a variety of 3-4 plantings. There are some left-over barrels not planted that the BID did not have a budget for. Angel pointed out that they hope to plant the flowers by mid-May next year, but could not do that this year because the project was not theirs until then.

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What do you think of the flower pots this year? 

Leslie Lawler June 28, 2012 at 11:02 PM
One might also say that Manzer got the "award" because of political contributions: http://www.elections.ny.gov:8080/plsql_browser/CONTRIBUTORB_NAME?LAST_NAME_IN=manzer&NAME_IN=&position_IN=START&date_from=01%2F01%2F2004&date_to=06%2F29%2F2012&AMOUNT_from=1&AMOUNT_to=1000&ORDERBY_IN=N Liz, since you delved into this, could you please report how many bids were received, what the bid proposals were from each bidder, and who exactly was the lowest responsible bidder. Manzer offered to do twice as many, but that didn't happen? How could there be left over barrels? The proposal would spell out what the job specs were, so why wasn't the job completed according to spec? The quality delivered is terrible. There seems to be something very wrong with contract-awards in this city. Fourmen sues the city, and was just awarded a $2m contract with the school district. Manzer is a political contributor and not only gets this BID contract, but delivers sub-standard work. Something's rotten here.
C. Anderson June 29, 2012 at 01:55 AM
The City of Peekskill handled the bidding process of the barrel plantings for the BID since the city felt it would be to difficult for the BID to handle this on their own (they must be totally lame then). Manzer was awarded the contract and was also awarded the contract to plant 20 hanging baskets for $16,000. This is an just another example of political shenanigans by the Foster/insider/cronies club. There is not way those hanging baskets are worth 16K. Ms Lawler is right on track. The way Mary Foster tries to defend this contract the more you cannot believe her, even Mr Ondike is not fooled - thou does protest to much Mary Foster. The new BID is now just another political tool for the Mayor, and the clowncell is just a rubber stamp. This idea of a "new look" BID is just a joke - a new group of profiteers are now running the show. After all the crap and bad press the Peekskill BID has had, the "new look" BID needs to be looked into much more closely with a keen eye toward conflict of interest.
George in NY June 29, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Put two drug dealers and two illegals around each pot, no one will be able to see the flowers, problem solved. Those must be great hanging plants. Ours only cost about $25 each. I better go downtown today, I keep forgetting to enjoy the REVITALIZED downtown.
JM June 29, 2012 at 02:17 PM
So, this explains it, I wondered too why such a delay in planting. Yes, whether $10K or $16K, that is a lot of money for two planting turns -- summer flowers followed presumably by mums, or hopefully something that lasts longer. I will have to look closer at what was planted across the area, just saw some perennials yesterday and thought that was an usual choice for these pots. Granted the landscape company deserves to make a profit. But the difference is, I could have done a better job; filled these pots with immediate color/pizazz and still made a profit for doing the job at $8K. Where does one sign up to be notified that these bids are available?
Leslie Lawler June 29, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Just make a campaign contribution, JM. That's how you sign up.
bernie stringer June 29, 2012 at 03:48 PM
It's not too late to put some more flowers in the weaker pots and make this summer look great. The flowers make a huge difference.
PeekskillBID July 02, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Hello All, I respect Bernie's concern and interest in the issue, particularly as it is driven by a care for what's best for Peekskill. I will try to answer some of the questions raised. In response to these comments, I have attached the BID's 2012 Flower Barrel Call for Proposals, for which we received two bids in return. It was a short window to receive and review bids, as we learned that the BID would be managing the Flower Barrels in mid-May and needed to get the barrels planted before summer was upon us. Because of the unexpected nature of managing the barrels this year, the BID Board had to allocate funding for the flower pots from the fund balance -- thus we allocated a maximum amount of $10,000 for as many high quality barrels as bid responders could propose. A commenter raised the issue of politics -- no such thing. The Board selected Manzers Landscaping because he promised to plant double the barrels of the other bidder (Shades of Green -- a great landscaping business), in addition to a fall planting. We went with the group we thought would have the greatest impact on making downtown green and beautiful at the best value for BID members.
PeekskillBID July 02, 2012 at 06:19 PM
Yes, the flowers in some of the barrels are small now -- as many gardeners know, it is likely because of the fact that we were a month behind schedule so there is a lag in growth. We hope that in a month, they will be full, lush and beautiful and a positive addition to downtown -- if we are unsatisfied, that's why there will be another call for proposals next year to consider other options. In the future, if we have additional barrels we don't have the budget to plant, we may explore having downtown businesses and residents "adopt a barrel" so everyone can contribute to the effort of having a positive impact on Peekskill. Thanks for the discussion and always feel free to contact the BID office with questions or concerns at 914-737-2780.
Leslie Lawler July 02, 2012 at 06:34 PM
Thanks for the info, Jason. The fact remains that Manzer contributed to the Peekskill Democratic Party and they were awarded this contract, and the end result is questionable to say the least.
Chris M July 05, 2012 at 07:40 PM
You are not taking into account the maintenance of the pots, which includes watering, replacement of dead and "lost" plants and regular removal of garbage etc from the pots.
Chris M July 05, 2012 at 07:43 PM
100$ five years ago by a longtime resident (not the business) of the city of peekskill doesn't seem questionable at all.

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