To help preserve, protect, and nurture the economic and cultural vitality of downtown Caldwell through the creation of public and private partnerships.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Local Landscapers Dig Deep and Give Back to Caldwell
By Diane Lilli

This is one time beauty is not skin deep.
A trio of volunteers who are taking off precious time from their busy season are kick starting a local beautification project in Caldwell.
Rick Ventola, Kevin Macken and James Haas are all up to their necks in dirt every day, but as local landscapers, are not afraid to give back to their community.
Though the summer heat may be stifling, it would take a lot more than a heat wave to stop these 3 guys. After all, they're on a mission.
"We are putting up brackets and baskets of flowers onto 35 light posts all along Bloomfield Avenue in Caldwell," said Ventola, as he and Macken took a fast break from the heat to enjoy a lemonade at Rockin' Joes.
The three landscapers, though all in competition for local and non-local jobs, work well together.
"We work together all the time," noted Macken. "We also take care of the traffic islands in West Caldwell."
But this week, this dynamic trio is setting up the
colorful baskets of flowers donated by Caldwell's Project Main Street, a non-profit organization run by local residents.
"It's good to give back to our town," added Ventola.
Project Main Street, via fundraising, raised the money to buy brackets, baskets and flowers for display all along Bloomfield Avenue.
And, thinking ahead, they also reached to have these 3 landscapers install and then maintain the 35 plants.
Not only will the installation of the plants be free, so too will the watering.
"If you had to pay for the brackets and baskets being installed, and the maintainence and watering, it might cost a few thousand dollars," said Ventola.
If you would like to support these local landscapers, who truly embody the spirit of community service, give them a holler.
And, if you'd like to participate in Project Main Street's local efforts to help Caldwell thrive, email them at
As a resident here in Caldwell, I am deeply grateful for the volunteerism that is not only alive but prospering in our midst.
K.MACKEN LANDSCAPING: (973) 261-0198

Two local volunteers take a break from their outdoor work on a hot day in Caldwell. From left to right: Rick Ventola of R.Ventola Landscaping and Kevin Macken of K.Macken Landscaping.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Project Main Street volunteers install American Flags along Bloomfield Avenue

35 American flags now grace Bloomfield Avenue in Caldwell.

The flags were purchased with money raised by Project Main Street, an all volunteer, nonprofit initiative of the Caldwell Downtown Alliance. The organization hosted a successful Caldwell Beautification dinner, tricky tray, and 50/50 on May 29, with the promise of returning 100% of the proceeds to the community. The flags will be followed by the installation of hanging flower baskets and other beautification projects to help enhance the beauty and charm of our downtown, attracting residents, neighbors and businesses to Caldwell.

“Raising a five foot flag is an emotional experience,” said Jerry Smith, Project Main Street President. “But raising over 30 flags for our community to share is overwhelming. Our Stars and Stripes are a timeless, yet constant reminder of who we are and where we belong. Our freedom has been made possible by our brothers and sisters who serve our country today and throughout the past two centuries to preserve our way of life.”

Jerry’s sentiment was shared by volunteers Alan and Diane Ryan, Barbara Pucciarello, Alan Schindler, and Christy Berg as the team began Friday morning at 5 a.m. and spent a full day assembling and installing the flags so that everyone could enjoy them in time for their July 4th celebrations.

While Project Main Street promotes their mission as “your avenue to a vibrant downtown”, the organization recognizes that this first step in their downtown beautification plans, took a community.  “I hope that as people look down Bloomfield Avenue and see these beautiful flags flying, they’re proud that they had a hand in their presence,” said Christy Berg, Project Main Street board member. “Whether someone helped us raise money, ran or supported our Beautification Dinner, gave the necessary approvals or rolled up their sleeves to work on this project, everyone’s contribution made a difference.”

To learn more or to become a Project Main Street volunteer, please email