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Friends group and U.S. Bank plan to beautify Freeland

This corner in Freeland will be transformed with a new landscaping design this spring. The plan will include three-season color with flowering trees in the spring, flowering plants in the summer and fall color in the trees and shrubs. - Gayle Saran
This corner in Freeland will be transformed with a new landscaping design this spring. The plan will include three-season color with flowering trees in the spring, flowering plants in the summer and fall color in the trees and shrubs.
— image credit: Gayle Saran

Look for a colorful display of flowers this spring at the intersection of Main Street and Harbor Avenue in Freeland.

The Friends of Freeland and U.S. Bank are planning a joint project to transform the existing landscape at U.S. Bank’s branch on the corner of South Harbor and Main Streets in Freeland “from blah to aha.”

The six- to eight-week project will start on Feb. 21 and wrap up in early April.

Crabapple trees and almost two dozen varieties of colorful shrubs and grasses will be planted, and the scenery will change with the seasons and include red, blue, lavender, yellow and green hues.

The modifications will be made both to improve the aesthetic appeal and to support a more cohesive theme for future projects planned for Main Street and Harbor Avenue.

Last year the bank came under criticism for chopping down several trees along the street in front of the bank that provided a buffer to Main Street. The trees were thought to be too large for the area, obstructing motorists view at the four-way stop, and growing into power lines. The new landscaping will include smaller, dwarf trees.

The improvements are part of a broader initiative led by the Friends of Freeland, a local non-profit organization that’s engaged in numerous beautification efforts on South Whidbey.

“We were excited to be one of the Friends first projects. And this offers us a great opportunity to honor Paulette McNett, former manager at U.S. Bank,” said Richard Newton, U.S. Bank Freeland branch manager.

“As a resident and local business community member, we feel privileged to partner with the Friends of Freeland both to revive the natural beauty of our facility for the benefit of our customers and friends and to help set an example for similar activities elsewhere in the area,” said Newton.

A commemorative bench honoring Paulette McNett, a beloved former branch manager and master gardener who retired last year, is slated for inclusion on the Harbor Avenue side facing the new retail space planned for the corner.

Friends started with a demonstration project last year at Knitty Pearls, across Harbor Avenue from the bank. The group installed movable planters.

“Working with U.S. Bank really provides Friends of Freeland an opportunity to kick-off the rest of our ‘Downtown Freeland Beautification and Pedestrian Safety Project,’” said Marlane Harrington, president of the Friends of Freeland.

“We strongly believe in joint efforts working with members of the business community as a way of enhancing the livability of our community.”

A color rendering of the approved landscaping plans is available for viewing in the U.S. Bank branch lobby, along with information about the Friends of Freeland and their many other activities and resources.

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