A crowd gathered along the cheerful pollinator pathway mural on East Putnam Ave on Wednesday for a ribbon cutting event.
Greenwich’s Environmental Affairs director Pat Sesto praised the commitment of volunteers and staff who persevered for a cheerful mural to be painted on a drab concrete wall by the bus stop opposite Greenwich High School.
During the ribbon cutting along the busy roadway, Ms Sesto praised the vision, tenacity, and enthusiasm among the community for the project.
She gave special thanks to Myra Klockenbrink of the Sustainability Committee and Greenwich Environmental Analyst Aleks Moch, in addition to the many partners who participated in the effort, including the Land Trust, Green & Clean, Sustainability Committee, Waste Free Greenwich, GRAB, and the Greenwich Tree Conservancy.
“I’m so pleased. I keep driving by this and think what an achievement it was,” she continued, adding that the wall delivered a message of the value of the pollinator pathway.
The crowd chuckled when Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo mentioned how the mural had been controversial.
In fact, back in spring 2021, funds were raised, an RFP was issued, and professional muralist Nelson Rivas of Newburgh, NY was selected. When he began painting, a stop work order was issued and paint brushes were put down.
After discussions about procedures and gifts to the town, as well as aesthetics and accusations of politicizing messages, the RTM voted in September 2021 to approve the mural in a vote of 121 in favor, 68 opposed and 5 abstentions.
“It was not easy. You’d think it would have been easy,” Camillo said. “Certainly, it’s a great improvement, but it also signifies our commitment to the environment.”
“While we’ve made great strides, there’s a lot more to do, but this shows how with perseverance and hard work, things can get done,” he added.
Ms Klockenbrink, who came out cheering for the mural back in early 2021 said, “Greenwich Pollinator Pathway is not fooling around. We are determined to make a difference.”
She said thousands of square feet of pollinator habitat had been installed in town, and many children had been educated about the pollinating landscape.
“Pollinator pathway is about more than butterflies and flowers. It is about restoring native landscape,” she said, adding that the mural was a symbol of the town’s commitment toward that end.
Though Sesto described her influence as bureaucratic, she did advocate for the mural, noting pollinators are in serious decline.