The Franklin Square Civic Association’s Spruce Up the Square Committee planted 20 American flags along Hempstead Turnpike in the leadup to the Fourth of July in an effort to make Franklin Square more appealing. The association’s president, Katherine Tarascio, announced the July 1 initiative in a statement.
The project was part of an effort the Spruce Up the Square Committee started over a year ago, with the aim of increasing the aesthetic appeal of Franklin Square. Civic association Treasurer Frank Culmone said that the committee’s goal was not to revamp the downtown area, but rather to decorate the main thoroughfares of the area, such as Hempstead Turnpike. “To get that done is a major effort,” Culmone added.
Without a train station, Franklin Square is at a disadvantage when it comes to attract visitors, Culmone explained. Members of the civic association asked themselves a question when launching this project, he said: “We said, ‘What can we do as a civic group to make areas more appealing to shop in?’” The answer, he added, was, “Do smalls things to make Franklin Square more attractive.”
“It gives us a great sense of community and looks so nice,” said the group’s correspondence secretary, Adrienne McKenna. She added that the Spruce Up the Square Committee, which has met virtually during the coronavirus pandemic, hopes to expand the project, and is planning decoration projects for the fall and winter.
The American flag project, however, has been in the works for years, and required collaboration with community partners ranging from local elected officials to utility companies like PSEG.
State Assemblyman Ed Ra donated 10 American flags, matching a donation by the association. “He’s been very supportive on many levels …,” McKenna said of Ra. “Anytime we’ve ever asked for help, he’s helped us do what we want to do.”
The civic association has heard from the community that the project should be extended into the future. “Many people have commented on expansion … we would like to also,” McKenna said.
Although the main goal of the project was to enhance the visual appeal of the hamlet, Culmone, who led the effort, said it has a deeper meaning to him. “It’s important to me to show pride in America,” he said. “I grew up in the ’50s and ’60s, with lots of parades and patriotism after World War II, but that dwindled in the late ’70s, ’80s and ’90s — but 9/11, as unfortunate as it is to say, resurrected that much-needed patriotism.
“My feeling is that the American flag represents the efforts of our forefathers to get our country their freedom,” Culmone said, noting that many civic association members served in the military. “Through lots of wars since then, the flag has been an image, a representation of American pride and the efforts of our forefathers to get us where we are today.”
In order to continue the flag project, and others in the future, the Spruce Up the Square Committee, and the association, need new members, McKenna said. “Please join the FSCA so we can continue working for our community — your support would be most appreciated,” reads the organization’s statement on the American flag project. To learn more about the group, go to https://fsqcivic.org/index.php/en/.