A clean sweep

Beautification Committee officials aiming to improve Craig's appearance


If you go

The Craig Beautification Committee meets at 5:15 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month at the Craig Chamber of Commerce building, 360 E. Victory Way. The meeting is open to the public. Call 824-5689

— Since Betty Miesner has lived in Craig, she's had to make some adjustments.

A native of Long Island and upstate New York, she was used to seeing a different picture than what met her in Northwest Colorado.

She was "used to flowers, grass, trees, water" - natural elements she found in abundance on the eastern seaboard.

Craig and the surrounding area, however, was a different story.

"There was no grass," she said. "I cried for two weeks."

So, Mienser took action.

In 2006, she became a member of the Craig Beautification Committee, a privately funded group dedicated to adding an aesthetic touch to various Craig locations.

The committee is a subchapter of the Craig Chamber of Commerce, and its tasks include pulling weeds, trimming trees and hanging flower baskets in Craig's downtown business area.

Committee members said they hope some flowers and various clean-up projects will improve the face of Craig and encourage other residents to follow their lead.

It doesn't take much, Miesner said.

"Even a little bit of polish : changes everything," she said.

Miesner acts as the group's co-chair with Rose Counts. Last summer, she spent part of her mornings and evenings with a water jug and stepstool in hand, watering the flowerpots that hung from lampposts on Yampa Avenue's 500 block.

Her work sometimes kept her out until 10 p.m.

But, Miesner didn't mind.

"It's relaxing," she said.

Still, it was more than relaxation that motivated her work on the project last year.

"I like flowers - I believe in them," she said, adding that she believes sidewalks lined with blooming flowers creates city pride and may help reduce vandalism.

Sally Smith, the committee's former chairwoman, believes a "beautified" city also may reap the economic rewards that come with increased tourism.

"We have hunting, true," Smith said, adding that friendly residents and interesting locations can help draw in visitors.

Still, "The city itself - I don't think it's conducive to tourism," she said.

If Craig wants to become a tourist attraction, Smith said, its residents need to help make it look the part.

The first step in that process: Hanging flowers and sweeping sidewalks in Craig's downtown business area.

The committee has several projects lined up for coming months.

At the head of the list sits a project at the intersection of Victory Way and Finley Lane. The group plans to place plants, bushes and decorative rocks at the site, Counts said, and hopes to have the project completed this summer.

The group also hopes to extend its hanging flowerpot project this year, hanging two flower baskets on each lamppost in the 400 and 500 blocks of Yampa Avenue, Counts said.

Still, the path before them isn't an easy one.

Although the scope of its flower project has increased, the committee still is a "small group," Counts said, adding that the committee had four active members last year.

"We're campaigning for funds," she said, "and we're campaigning for membership."

The city of Craig has stepped up to help the group. City employees helped committee members with hanging water baskets last year and plans to do so again this summer, Counts said.

The city's parks and recreation department "has been really supportive of what we've been doing," Smith said.

And Counts believes the committee's work will pay off this year, especially in the downtown block where it plans to hang more flowers.

"It's going to be beautiful," she said.

Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1795 or bmanley@craigdailypress.com


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