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WDAY: The News Leader

Published October 06, 2013, 08:30 PM

Flowers of the city of Fargo are costing more each year

FARGO – Each spring, the Fargo Park District bids farewell to the final days of frost by planting about 100,000 flowers throughout the city’s parks and golf courses, as well as in hanging baskets downtown along Broadway.

By: Maureen McMullen, Forum News Service, INFORUM, WDAY

FARGO – Each spring, the Fargo Park District bids farewell to the final days of frost by planting about 100,000 flowers throughout the city’s parks and golf courses, as well as in hanging baskets downtown along Broadway.

“I think it beautifies the area. Some people typically think of parks and recreation as being all about sports and doing something active, but there’s a whole different realm of people who just want to enjoy nature and flowers and landscaping,” said Dave Leker, Fargo’s director of parks. “Plus, you see full-color bloom on a street corner and it kind of brightens everyone’s day.”

The cost of providing that dash of seasonal beauty has been increasing in recent years. In Fargo, it has gone up about 20 percent in the five years between 2010 and 2014, the bid for which was awarded in September. In West Fargo, it is up about 25 percent over the past five years. In Moorhead, flower expenses have held more static.

The winning bid to provide 2014’s flowers in Fargo was $41,032.42, by Hafner’s Greenhouse in Park Rapids, Minn., beating out Fargo’s Shotwell Floral, which has been the Park District’s typical flower supplier.

“They are giving us their best price on the flower list we provide. We compare those and take the lowest bid amount,” said Jeff Haberman, forester for the Fargo Park District.

Though Leker couldn’t attribute budget increase to anything in specific, he said some factors could have been price inflation and expansion to flower beds in Fargo golf courses. He also said they’d hired a new landscaper this year, whose designs may have included higher-quality flowers.

Moorhead and West Fargo don’t put their flower costs up to an open bid, instead buying directly from vendors.

Though its flower costs are growing on a percentage basis faster than in Fargo, West Fargo spends much less on flowers, just over $3,700 this year – up about $700 since 2009.

West Fargo Park District Director Barb Erbstoesser said she didn’t have an estimate for how many flowers they plant per year.

“We had added parks and park facilities, some parks we’ve added a few more flowers. We do something different every single year,” said Erbstoesser. “Like anything, prices have gone up this year.”

West Fargo’s flowers are supplied by Petal Pushers, a greenhouse in Embden, N.D., with a satellite business in West Fargo.

“We like to keep it local,” said Erbstoesser.

Moorhead spent $7,827 this year on flowers from Thompson Greenery, of Barnesville, Minn. The city’s park department relies on the greenery to both supply and plant the 14,000 to 15,000 flowers purchased each year.

“At one time I had full-time employees, but it took them about two and a half weeks to plant because they were mostly guys who aren’t good flower-planters. But then one of our suppliers said that they would also plant,” said Larry Anderson, Moorhead Parks and Forestry Manager.

Anderson said that the planting process takes Thompson Greenery four days to complete. When fall approaches, the flowers are simply left in their beds.

“Once we get into September and October, we just let Mother Nature take care of them,” said Anderson. “We don’t really maintain them this late in the year.”

Flower costs

What the park districts in Moorhead, Fargo and West Fargo have spent or plan to spend on flowers for each of the past five years. Fargo’s figures are one year ahead because it takes bids in the fall for next year’s flowers.

Fargo

2014: $41,032.42

2013: $39,500

2012: $39,500

2011: $35,000

2010: $34,000

West Fargo

2013: $3,720.03

2012: $3,545.40

2011: $3,401.75

2010: $3,210.46

2009: $3,010

Moorhead:

2013: $7,827.90

2012: $7,624.50

2011: $7,876.50

2010: $7,904.81

2009: $7,329.45

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