Clean-Up as Beautification
The groundhog saw his shadow. Just six more weeks until spring – and that has me thinking about spring clean-up.
Eyesores in any community are a little bit like a squeaky door at your house. If you let them go long enough, you no longer “see” them until they are totally broken. Parts of our community appear broken. As we work at attracting visitors and business, we cannot continue to ignore ugly messes on Main Street, or our street.
A vibrant community does not just happen without community effort. Lets not wait another 15 or 20 years. Together, we can make a difference now. Most cleanup jobs are one or two day projects. They can be made easier by helping one another. It is time to face the issues and do something about them. Don’t overlook the obvious.
An easy first win would be to clean up a neighborhood park.
Marlinton did a lot of cleaning last year. There is a lot more to do this year. Cleaning up our river and streams is very important.
The Human Resource Development Foundation Grant was funded specifically for stream cleanup. John Casto and his crew have been doing a fabulous job cleaning out debris from last summer’s flooding. I want to commend John and the HRDF crew for their work along Marlin Run and Knapps Creek. I imagine this has improved the view for the residents at Pocahontas Center.
When unattended, all the litter that collects on the banks ultimately ends up in the water. We recently discussed the idea of a dog park on the island portion of land off Ninth Street.
If you plan to do a clean-up project, take before and after photos. Share your success with others. It’s okay to brag about your volunteers. The great thing about these projects (in town) is that we will help you dispose of the trash that your volunteers collect, so far as we can.
Developing a plan has me reading about design concepts and thinking more about what we can do as a community to present ourselves in a better light. Much of this section has been picked out of various other articles for your consideration. One common theme continues to appear in these articles. Towns that want to freshen themselves up a bit, need to pay more attention to streetscape.
Streetscape is the most immediate and logical way to improve community appearance.
Streetscape is commonly defined as the area between the driving lanes and the edge of private property. This public space can be effective in uniting block faces or a series of blocks. Streetscape often includes plantings to soften the view created by streets and sidewalks. Care in the choice of materials and installation makes all the difference in this form of beautification.
In addition to streetscape, focal points add to overall community design. Sometimes this is a fountain or a clock tower.
I believe the Greenbrier River bridge, Marlinton’s gazebo area, and the (award-winning) Greenbrier River Trail, as it passes through Town, each fit the category of focal points. Along the trail, the refurbished water tank, depot and Knapps Creek bridge crossing add unique features to Marlinton’s focal points. If we capitalize on what we have and are thoughtful with future beautification projects, we can add benefit to the general attraction for visitors.
We live in a place where others want to come to and return to on vacation.
We can make a difference right where we are.
Little things can make a big difference.
You will soon see an interpretive Civil War sign at First Avenue near the bridge.
If travelers stop and get out of their cars to read a sign, restaurants in that area will have a better opportunity to gain a customer. A new shop is more likely to attract walk-in business. If the Town can add a bench to an otherwise bare or lonely spot, we create a special place.
Volunteer Community Beautification
Don’t overlook the opportunity to organize private citizens groups.
Louise Barnisky, Cindy Sabota and Vada Wilson have committed to beautifying the Main Street planters and The Gazebo area for Summer 2017. But, the Town always needs help maintaining other locations. I am creating a list of areas you or your group could adopt:
We always need help with trash pick up, tending three (3) entry sign locations at the town limits, weeding and tending the entry sign to Mountain View Cemetery off Route 39, the cemetery itself needs extra attention beyond the mowing and trimming we do. Entries and walkways can be dressed up. Special attention to flower-beds along the Greenbrier River Trail that the Town assists with. We have planters off Main Street and other projects. Each of these projects and others deserve extra tending. You can call the Town office and sign up for any of these projects or suggest another that you have interest in.
These smaller community beautification campaigns can produce a broader lasting difference. Neighborhood block projects could be combined into one common effort.
A common planting in a neighborhood, for instance. An assortment of plants provides variety. Your block could do a project to attract butterflies or hummingbirds. Cutting a tree or planting a tree is great for improving community appearance at a relatively low cost.
Those are pretty much the building blocks of the positive part of community appearance.
Make it happen.