Last September, residents planted tulips in several areas of northwest Buffalo in an effort to beautify the neighborhood.
Tiny Tim, the falsetto-voiced singer with a knack for self-promotion, would be proud. The tulips attract attention.
"The flowers are a symbol of the ongoing revitalization effort. Everybody can rally behind flower planting," said Wanda Terry, commercial coordinator for the Black Rock-Riverside Neighborhood Housing Services.
"The three locations where we planted them are highly visible," she said.
The flowers have been planted at the Black Rock and Judge George P. Burd memorial landmarks at Niagara and Amherst streets, at the Riverside Lighthouse at the corner of Tonawanda Street and Crowley Avenue, and at Grant and Amherst streets. Ms. Terry referred to the region as the "commercial corridors," because of the flowers' proximity to clusters of local businesses.
The tulip bulbs planted last fall were donated by the Netherlands Flowerbulb Information Center. Black Rock-Riverside is one of 100 neighborhoods nationally to receive bulbs from the Netherlands-based promotional organization.
With the exception of the Grant-Amherst location, the tulips that have not been picked for Mother's Day or for other occasions are faring well.
At the Niagara-Amherst section, Kevin Carroll, 32, who moved to Amherst Street in January, said he noticed neighborhood kids picking the tulips in front of his residence.
"The kids seem to like it," he said. "On Mothers Day, there were 20 of them out there."
Frank Durkee has been living in the Black Rock area for over 70 years, but only recently settled into Crowley Avenue after living in Florida for 12 years.
"I think it's a good idea," Durkee said of the tulips planted at the Riverside Lighthouse near his house. "There were a lot of them back in the '30s."
Lou Rigler of Rigler Electronics at 941 Tonawanda St. said business has pretty much kept him from noticing the flowers at the lighthouse directly across the street, but added:
"It's a nice touch. They need more improvements like that. It's nice if they could keep it up."
The Northwest Buffalo Commercial Consortium -- a group of three business organizations, along with the Black Rock-Riverside agency -- was involved in planting the flowers.
Ms. Terry said the goal of the consortium is "to improve the physical and the economic condition in the Northwest Buffalo neighborhoods."
Making the area look better is one of the consortium's variety of projects to help businesses improve their operations, to attract new businesses to northwest Buffalo and to improve goods, services and employment in the area, Ms. Terry said.
The consortium had begun its 1989 activities with a "Clean Sweep" event on Arbor Day, April 28, in which residents and business owners swept the streets.
"The business people as well as the residents are taking a lot of pride" in the neighborhood," said Riverside Business Association member Don Nichols of Snitzer's Hardware Store at 776 Tonawanda St.
Ms. Terry said future community projects include planting trees and placing benches and trash receptacles in front of neighborhood businesses along Amherst, Tonawanda and Niagara streets. She said the project is expected to be finished by the fall.
Like the seasonal bloom of flowers, Terry says, the neighborhood improvement is a gradual one.
"You have to start with small projects. You take one step at a time," she said. "The success of it depends on the property owners themselves."