CAVENDISH, Vt. – The American flags that line the village of Proctorsville may be ready to come down within a month to be stored for the winter, but that doesn’t mean that the group that put them up is done with their plans.
The Cavendish Streetscapes Committee, the 11-person group responsible for organizing the effort that lined Route 131 through the town of Proctorsville with 34 flags this past summer, is just getting started.
According to the Committee’s Acting Board Chair Rolf Van Schaik, future plans include increasing the number of flags, incorporating different types of flags such as Vermont state flags or flags that represent different groups, and expanding their efforts to include plantings on the Proctorsville green or in other areas around town. In fact, the committee is currently putting together a landscape plan with a goal to “create an area with benches where people can gather in small groups in a park-like setting.”
The idea for the Cavendish Streetscapes Committee began early this year when Van Shaik, along with Martha Mott, Carolyn Solzhenitsyn, and Julia Gignoux submitted a grant request to the Cavendish Community Fund with their idea to line the street with American flags. The CCF provides support for educational, artistic, or cultural programs, projects, or events that benefit the Cavendish community in some way. At the same time, a Cavendish Beautification Group, led by Doris Eddy also approached the CCF for a grant. Their goals focused on plantings on the Proctorsville Green as well as other areas around town. The two groups decided to merge and became Cavendish Streetscapes. As the group began to take shape, they ultimately decided to operate as a committee under the Cavendish Community and Conservation Association, which is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. “Donations being tax deductible is important for fundraising,” said VanShaik.
Cavendish Streetscapes received their grant of $1,000 for the flag project from CCF in the spring of 2018 and according to Van Shaik, “It was a generous grant that was enough to really get things going.”
After extensive coordination with local utilities to secure flagpole placement, the flags were raised July 3, 2018, just before Independence Day. According to Van Shaik, Proctorsville Fire Department Deputy Chief Bob Glidden Jr. was instrumental in the effort to get the flags in place. The Fire Department dedicated two trucks and a group of men and women who, along with committee members, secured the flags on electric and telephone poles lining Route 131 in the village of Proctorsville.
There was also an additional fundraiser at Murdocks on the Green Restaurant in August called “Raise Our Flags” that raised additional money by dedicating the flags to friends and family of those contributing to the cause.
Cavendish Streetscapes Committee is planning to have the flags come down on Veterans’ Day, Nov. 11, unless weather dictates otherwise. The Cavendish Historical Society has agreed to store them for the winter.
A fresh round of fundraising is already underway for next year with a flyer being designed that outlines their mission and goals. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm,” said Van Shaik. To donate to Cavendish Streetscapes, go to their Go Fund Me page “Cavendish Raise Our Flags.”