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Rooted in Westcott, Daffodil project blooms across city

In front of the Westcott Community Center on Westcott Street are blooming yellow daffodils, the same ones handed out as part of the Westcott Bulb Project.

In front of the Westcott Community Center on Westcott Street are blooming yellow daffodils, the same ones handed out as part of the Westcott Bulb Project. Photo by Neil Benjamin Jr..

— What began as an idea to help the Westcott-area neighborhoods spruce up in appearance has morphed into a city-wide initiative of sorts.

Back in 2003, Pete Wirth, who has been active in the community around Westcott Street, developed an idea to give out free bulbs -- namely daffodils -- to those citizens who promise to plant the flowers in an area that can be seen by the entire community. Wirth said the biggest sticking point is that these are not handed out to be planted in a personal garden out of the public eye. Provided with the bulbs is free compost, donated by Toad Hollow, and information on how to properly plant and care for the flowers.

Nine years later, the entire city of Syracuse has taken notice, and Wirth expects the free bulbs handed out to surpass 100,000. Each October, after taking bulb orders from the community from outside the Westcott Community Center, Wirth and the three other members of the committee fill those orders, and in turn have helped make the Westcott area more colorful come spring time.

“Even though I don’t live in the neighborhood anymore, I still feel a strong connection to it,” said Wirth, who moved to Fayetteville in 1984 after owning a house in the Westcott neighborhood for years.

It grew slowly in the beginning, with about 2,000 bulbs planted in the inaugural year. In 2005, more than 200 residents of the Westcott neighborhood came and picked up about 8,500 bulbs.

Fast forward to 2010, and that year’s total was a staggering 22,000, while 2011 say more than 17,000 planted. The entire initiative is in correspondence with the Westcott Community Center, and a stroll by the building shows it. There’s a bed of bright yellow bloomers directly in front of the building, and next to the parking lot.

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