Park Rapids is in need of some flower power.

The hanging flower baskets that bedeck State Hwy. 34 require financial support from the community. Individuals, businesses or organizations may support the cause.

The beautification initiative sprouted in 2010, after MnDOT's widening of Hwy. 34 didn't include any green space. Hafner's Greenhouse spearheaded the effort - and it has flowered for nearly a decade.

Unfortunately, monetary contributions have dwindled significantly in the past two years, according to Mike Hafner.

A flower pole sponsorship is $200, but any amount of donation is welcome. There are 62 poles in all, with 124 baskets overflowing with flowers each summer. They line the highway - from Charlie's Boat and Marine all the way to Fair Avenue - with extra attention paid to the centerpiece display at Cwikla ACE Hardware.

The Park Rapids Downtown Business Association purchases the lovely hanging baskets in the downtown district.

Hafner's raises all the flowers in their greenhouses and hangs baskets by Memorial Day, provided the weather is favorable. They donate all the flowers that hang on ACE's railing as well as the Park Rapids Fire Hall.

Hafner's is responsible for all the labor involved, including watering daily throughout the summer and taking the baskets down around Labor Day. They volunteer their time.

"We're doing this for the city. We're not making a dime on this," Mike said.

Residents and tourists alike frequently comment on the splendid floral array as they journey through our town. It would be a terrible shame for the project to end due to lack of support.

For more information on becoming a sponsor, contact Hafner at 732-8033. Donations may be mailed to Hafner's Greenhouse.