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‘They’ve hit the ground running’

Beautification Committee eyes future

Collin Smith

— Following what Christina Currie, Craig Chamber of Commerce exectutive director, deemed a successful year, Beautification Committee members want to expand the project to hang flowers downtown and branch out into the city by coordinating landscaping projects.

And they’ve already started.

The committee has a donation guarantee from Bill Terrill, of New York Life Insurance, for more hanging plants on Yampa Avenue from Fourth Street to Seventh Street.

New Beautification Committee chairwoman Rose Counts said the group hopes to add flowers along Victory Way, as well.

Counts was born and raised here and joined the committee because she “just had the desire for the city to look better,” she said.

Counts was named Craig Beautification Committee chairwoman Aug. 22 at its regular monthly meeting at the Craig Chamber of Commerce.

Betty Meisner was named co-chairwoman.

Continuing the project could be difficult, Counts said, because the Craig City Council agreed to fund watering the flowers for no longer than one year.

The committee, which is funded entirely by private donations, is discussing options for future backing, Counts said.

Before it goes to the city and county, the committee wants to be more established as a subcommittee of the Chamber by recruiting more businesses and local organizations – including members of the Chamber, the Downtown Business Association, the Economic Development Partnership and the Moffat County Tourism Association – to be part of the decision-making, volunteer and fundraising processes.

“It would just be wonderful to get more funding,” Counts said. “The more money we have, the more we can do.

“I realize that people get hammered for money from time to time. We want to look at all opportunities. I think other cities have those opportunities, and we will start communicating with other beautification committees to see what they do.”

By recruiting other agencies, Counts hopes to expand committee membership and the volunteer base, which has been a big hurdle, she said.

“(The flower project) is basically all that we’ve been able to focus on, except for the weekly volunteer meetings,” Counts said. “We’ve tried to concentrate on the downtown area, where we’ve helped clean sidewalks, put up the flowers, trim trees and pull the curb and gutter weeds.”

Volunteers have worked hard and done well, Counts said, but there are enough projects for more volunteers.

Currie agrees financial backing is necessary for the success of the Beautification Committee.

“For the effort to really make a difference, there needs to be a solid source of funding,” Currie said. “But they’ve hit the ground running. They’re working to organize Clean Up Craig days. They’ve done some stuff downtown. Now they’re taking a step back to look at the committee as a whole and see where they can go forward.”

The committee also moved forward with a project to landscape the triangle island at U.S. Highway 40 and Finley Lane. The city has budgeted for a xeriscaping project there, Counts said. She said the project is expected to start in the next month, before hunting season.

Meisner is excited to take on the new project, saying it will be a tremendous improvement that everyone will notice.

“We’re definitely excited about that, and we’re gonna take that on,” Meisner said. “It’s going to be with boulders, we’d like to get a wood sculpture there and some low-maintenance, heat-resistant plants and shrubbery.”

The committee cannot plant trees or any other tall plants because of Colorado Department of Transportation regulations on road visibility, Counts said.

The Beautification Committee plans to meet at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 5 at the Safeway on Victory Way. Volunteers are welcome to help the committee pull weeds and tend to the flowers on Finley Lane.

Collin Smith can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or cesmith@craigdailypress.com


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