It has been a long time coming.
Finally, the Great Bend Beautification Committee’s effort to improve the northeast and northwest corners of the Great Bend Public Library parking lot is done. On a sun-drenched, unseasonably warm October afternoon Thursday, committee members gathered at the site to christen the endeavor.
“It was a two-year project,” said committee Chairman Linda Dougherty. In all, the work cost $17,000 with the entire amount donated over the two years by the Thelma Faye Harms Trust.
“There was a lot of work,” Dougherty said. Decorating each corner are new brickwork, perennial flowers watered by a drip irrigation system and pedestal centerpieces topped with urns that serve as planters.
Northview Nursery of Great Bend, which offered the group a discount, handled the brickwork and the Barton County Master Gardeners planned and planted the flora.
But, there was more to the project, said Chad Lagerman of Northview, who was present for the dedication. The old asphalt, concrete and trees had to be removed prior to the improvements being made.
There is still one more step, Dougherty said. “The plants will have new signage in the spring, making it a teaching garden.”
In addition to Dougherty, committee members include Deon Lupton, June Hillman, Dorothy Piland, Janis Williams and Carol Schremmer. The master gardeners who took part were Tonni Bodine, Barbara Davenport, Veronica Coons and Monica Bowers.
The Beautification Committee is a longtime function of the Great Bend Chamber of Commerce and has been around since 1996. Its inaugural project was the Broadway island improvements.
The island project spans nine city blocks with new grass and trees, a sprinkler system and electricity. Once privately maintained, the were given back to the City of Great Bend, which maintains them now.
The Beautification Committee has been busy since then, and one doesn’t have to drive far to find one of their many flower beds or landscaping plots. Their efforts have included:
• Great Bend Post Office landscaping
• Main Street flower pots - 13 flower pots downtown with seasonal planting, done by Northview Nursery, and fixtures that change throughout the year (birdhouses built by B&B Metals, fir trees, snowflakes during the winter months, flags during designated holidays)
• Great Bend Public Library – trees and flower beds at the corners of the parking lot, statues and flowers along building (shared effort with Friends of the Library), underground watering system for entire lawn and drip systems
• Great Bend Municipal Airport – terminal remodel, landscaping
• Barton County Sheriff’s Office – flower gardens
• Barton County Courthouse – round circle of lilies on the north side
• 17th Street tennis courts – flower gardens and landscaping
The Great Bend Chamber of Commerce contributed to this story.