MURRAY — It did not take long for the newly-formed City of Murray Beautification Committee to create its first project.
Just two meetings is all that were needed for the committee to announce Murray Clean Up Day, which is set to start at 9 a.m. April 13. This will involve two projects specifically: the repainting of the fence adjacent to Gil Hopson Drive inside Central Park and weeding and replanting flowers and other plants in the sidewalk planters of the court square.
Volunteers are being sought.
“Originally, we wanted to make this an all-Murray thing, with things happening all across the city, but we don’t necessarily have the volunteers in place right now to do an all-Murray project,” said committee co-chair Alice Rouse after the second meeting last week. “Now, (a city-wide activity) can still happen and what we’re hoping can happen that day is for the people of Murray to get out and fix up their own yards.
“It’s now spring, and things are turning green and plants and trees are full of different colors. It makes you feel better, and it’s right here before Easter, so we want people to join in and make our city prettier.”
Rouse said the downtown part of this project is receiving strong assistance from Murray State University, particularly the new manager of Murray State’s Pullen Farm, Dava Hayden.
“She met with some of us (Thursday) and we went looking at all of the planters and I was very impressed with how she would look at them and tell us how certain types of plants would look better in some planters, while different ones would handle sunlight better in others. She is full of knowledge and we are glad to have her helping us,” Rouse said.
As for the committee itself, Rouse’s co-chair, Terry Strieter, said he is impressed with the overall attitude of the members who have exhibited a high level of enthusiasm for their job so far.
“We’re very happy about the enthusiasm shown so far, but from what I understand, (Murray) has had beautification committees in the past and they got to a point where they were kind of spinning their wheels, so to speak,” he said. “That’s what we have to watch out for here, but so far, everyone seems really committed and most of them have been contributing ideas during the meetings.”
Strieter added that limiting the upcoming Clean Up Day to two major projects is something that should hopefully keep the enthusiasm from waning.
“I think we have to not take too many projects on at once,” he said. “We need to concentrate on a few things at a time and see if we can’t get those done before moving on to something else. We decided on the two projects this time, but that doesn’t mean we can’t do multiple clean-up days and spread those out.”
“I think we are moving in the right direction,” Rouse said, adding that she believes everyone is on the same page so far when it to comes to the mission. “Enhancing this community – that’s our main goal. If you enhance the community, you’re going to make it more vibrant, and what I like is that so far, it appears that everyone has the same vision, and you’ve got to have that. Without a vision, you have nothing.”
Rouse said the whole city is the committee’s concern, but downtown will receive heavy attention. However, she said the committee is going to have to be careful because there is another new committee specifically intended to look at ways to attract new businesses to that area — the Downtown Revitalization Committee. Both committees were created by newly-elected Mayor Bob Rogers.
She also said she is learning quickly that “beautification” means more than trees and flowers.
“It’s new store fronts, new entrances to identify Murray, looking at what buildings need to be repaired. We’ve been known as a friendly city, but we need to make downtown friendly so people will come downtown,” she said. “Right now, I think we’re just feeling out where we need to fit in when it comes to working with different organizations already here, like Murray Main Street, so we’re not overlapping what they’re doing.”
The committee consists of Joy Waldrop, Tom Timmons, Claire Fuller, Chris Chapman, Cindy Chrisman, Janette DeWitt, Rouse and Strieter.