Originally Featured in North Forty News
By Annie Lindgren
Executive Director of the Wellington CO Main Streets Program
Downtown Beautification, the Shine of Community Pride
When you drive through historic downtown Wellington, you may notice murals, flower planters, colorful bike racks, street-side banners, trees, trashcans, and benches decorating the streetscape. Ever wonder where they came from and who takes care of them? Many people and organizations have helped to beautify the downtown area in the past century.
M.A. Martell and Beth Hixson get credit for the round of beautification that happened in the early 1990s, that brought the trees, the irrigation for said trees, and the benches and matching trash cans that line Cleveland Avenue, in the heart of downtown Wellington. They sought grant funding for the efforts and did the leg work getting everything picked out and gathered for installation with the help of the public works department and others in the community. The first downtown flower planters were in the barrel style planter and were maintained by the public works department.
The Wellington CO Main Streets Program came to be in 2014 and began work beautifying the downtown area. The town entryway signs, the streetside banner program, and 12 new flower planters kicked off the efforts. Grant assistance helped some downtown businesses get a new paint job. In 2017 they installed the colorful bike racks, and in 2018 the first murals came to fruition. This summer the flower planter program, which initially was just in the historic downtown area, will now expand to include parts of 6th street, adding a splash of color in all directions from the entryway intersection. We plan more murals for this summer, with one going in on the west end of town embracing the town’s history through a rendition of the historic train depot. The next mural will pop up this summer on the east side of the Knaack of It Automotive building.
The Wellington Main Streets Program is a nonprofit organization that serves to develop, promote, and enhance the downtown area. The beautification projects happen through the Design Committee, which is currently chaired by Karin Chapman, and is managed primarily by volunteers. We fund the beautification projects through a variety of means, including grant funding, sponsorships, donations, and discounted services through local businesses. We get creative with the resources available to us, including using local talent and having local companies volunteer their time and resources to help us achieve our goals. The community is remarkably giving, and the contributions do great things for creating pride and collaboration.
There are several great fundraising events in Wellington that help fund the projects. The income raised at the Wellington 5K Fun Run on April 6th went to help fund the train depot mural. The Wellington Brewfest is Main Streets biggest fundraising event, with proceeds going to fund a variety of beautification and promotional projects that benefit the downtown area.
Many of the beautification projects would not have happened if not for the generosity of local businesses. Blue Federal Credit Union donated the $10,000 that allowed for the creation of the 8 colorful bike racks. Commercial Coatings Inc. donated the paint, supplies, and labor that went into the mural on the side of the Sol De Jalisco building, and are supporting another mural project this summer. Cottonwood Landscaping is volunteering time and resources to get the water to the self-watering planters added this summer. Wellington Flowers & More has played a huge role in the care and management of the flower planters over the past 5 years. In 2018 Tree Top Inc. donated 8 hours of tree trimming service to the trees in the historic downtown area in honor of Arbor Day.
You may have noticed improvements to the downtown Holiday decor over the last two winter seasons, and that too was coordinated through the Main Streets Program Design Committee, prompted by an anonymous donor who was tired of looking at the outdated décor. In 2017 we raised over $12,000 to go towards the decoration upgrades. The 2018 efforts were headed up by the local Kiwanis Club, helping with the picking out, installation, and maintenance of the decorations. The decorations were handed over to the Town of Wellington for ongoing use for creating a vibrant downtown over the holiday season.
Wellington is fortunate to have a Main Street Program dedicated to the revitalization of downtown and to serve as the hub for the various organizations and passionate individuals wishing to volunteer their time and resources to help make the downtown area a vibrant and inviting place. The boundaries of the local Main Street Program cover an ‘H’ shaped map with parts of 6th Street and 1st Street and the stretch of Cleveland Avenue that connects the two. The efforts fall within the program boundaries and require collaboration between the businesses and property owners within the district, the Town of Wellington and its Public Works Department and the various volunteer-run organizations that serve the area.
We strive to create a downtown environment where people from near and far feel welcomed to gather and connect in what we refer to as ‘Wellington’s Front Porch’. You will find community pride in the details of everything from the family-owned businesses to the flowers and trees that line the street. Interested in getting involved with the downtown beautification efforts? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.