Summer of Color comes to Raton

by Holly Mayfield
KRTN Multi-Media
RATON — Raton City Commission approved the use of $10,810 of lodgers tax money for the Raton Beautification Coalition “Summer of Color” project that will help with summer event promotions and downtown beautification.
The “Summer of Colors” purpose is to beautify downtown and encourage tourist visitation.  The beautification will coincide with other events going on throughout Raton during the summer, such as the Raton Rodeo, farmer’s market, 4th of July, Santa Fe International Balloon Festival, and Gate City Music Festival.
According to Jared Chatterly, Raton Parks and Recreation Director, the money will be used to purchase banners, some of which will promote summer events, that will hang on the light posts on Clayton Road, South 2nd Street, and downtown on 1st and 2nd Streets and the avenues in between.  Also, 50 hanging flower baskets will be purchased to be hung on the downtown historic lamp posts.  The baskets will be filled with cascading petunias that are to be purchased locally from Abundance Gardens.  Frank Ferri has generously volunteered is time and expertise to make the brackets that will attach the baskets to the lamp post.
The flowers will be maintained by volunteers from different organizations.  The “Summer of Color” will start sometime around Memorial Day weekend and will conclude sometime around Labor Day.
The Raton Beautification Coalition consists of Raton Parks and Recreation, GrowRaton, Raton Chamber of Commerce, Raton Main Street, and The Center for a Sustainable Community.  The coalition got the idea for a “Summer of Color” from a similar project in Vernal, Utah.  Twenty-five years ago Vernal was on its last leg.  In an effort to instill some community pride and make the town look a little nicer, hanging flower baskets were put up along a couple of blocks.  What started as a few hanging baskets has turned into a community covered in color.  There is debate in Vernal as to whether the flower project actually helped to save their town.  However, there is little doubt that the project has helped to instill some much needed community pride.
In order for the transformation of color to be successful, all of the baskets and banners will be hung in one day by volunteers to create the “Summer of Color” that will brighten the streets of Raton and help build community pride.