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A Schenectady alternative: Pansies in potholes

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A Schenectady alternative: Pansies in potholes

Some people are filling potholes themselves in Schenectady, and Elaine Santore is getting creative w
A Schenectady alternative: Pansies in potholes
Schenectady resident Elaine Santore fills a pothole in the middle of North Center St. with pansies.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

Some people are filling potholes themselves in Schenectady, and Elaine Santore is getting creative with the task.

Santore is filling potholes on Broadway and North Center Street with dirt and planting colorful pansies. She said she decided to fill potholes with flowers to make a statement and to make people smile.

“It has been a horrible winter so I wanted to cheer some people up,” she said. “Everybody knows that the potholes are bad and that the city could do a better job.”

Santore said she went to Lowe’s and purchased the dirt and pansies. She filled three potholes Monday on North Center Street and one on Broadway.

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“I got to work and said I’m filling some potholes, I’ll be back,” said Santore, founder and executive director of Umbrella of the Capital District on Broadway.

A friend of Santore’s stood nearby while she was filling the potholes to make sure a vehicle didn’t hit her. She said most people drove by slowly and gave her positive feedback.

“A truck driver asked me what I was doing and I said I’m filling potholes,” she said. “He said ‘that’s great!’ and put his thumbs up. Some people felt sorry for the pansies, but they are tough little buggers.”

Since Santore filled the potholes on Monday, most of them have either been dug up or the flowers run over. She hit the streets again Tuesday to fill them back up again.

“One of the pansies was dug up and the dirt taken out,” she said. “I went down Center Street and there are leaves but the two flowers are spent. The rest I’m not sure about.”

Santore said she hopes her pothole-filling technique will prompt city officials to fill them properly.

“There are some bad spots,” she said. “Brandywine is really bad. Some have been filled on Erie Boulevard. But something more should be done.”

Santore encourages other city residents to also help out and fill potholes.

“There is always another place to fill a pothole,” she said. “People could do it on their own just for fun and to show that they care about the city a little bit. If you see a flower in the road, you don’t want to hit it. Although some potholes you need more than pansies. You need a tree.”

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