Group seeks beautification funds


A local nonprofit organization is ready to begin the first phase of a five-year plan to beautify Brownstown and Ewing.

Luke Nolting, the new president of Brownstown/Ewing Main Street; Megan VanLiew, a board member; and Sally Lawson, a member of the Vision 2025 extension committee in Brownstown and president of the town council, recently came together to put the project in motion.

After gathering some donations, they have $6,050 to put toward purchasing concrete planters and double hanging flowerpots to place near the downtown areas of both communities.

They also have applied for a matching grant from the Jackson County Visitor Center in hopes of doubling that money, which would result in 16 concrete planters and 20 sets of double hanging flowerpots.

Lawson said the five-year beautification process had started before she, Nolting and VanLiew recently became involved in Brownstown/Ewing Main Street.

“We are just kind of stepping up and continuing with this project,” Lawson said.

The town of Brownstown put in $2,050 for the project, while Brownstown/Ewing Main Street put in $2,500, and there were donations of $1,000 from the Brownstown Exchange Club and $500 from The Peoples Bank.

Nolting submitted the matching grant application. The visitor center’s board, which meets the second Wednesday of each month, will announce the recipients this month or in May.

Lawson said if it’s announced soon and Brownstown/Ewing Main Street is a recipient, the planters and flowerpots will be ordered, and the flowers could be planted May 9 during the Jackson County United Way’s Day of Caring.

If the funding comes in May after Day of Caring, volunteers would be sought to help with the project.

If Brownstown/Ewing Main Street doesn’t wind up earning the matching grant, it will purchase what it can with its current funding.

The 36-inch planters will be placed near the Jackson County Courthouse, Heritage Park, Brownstown Town Hall and the intersection of Main and Walnut streets in Brownstown. Some also would be placed on the sidewalks in Ewing.

In terms of ordering the planters, Margie Strange with Schneider Nursery Inc. is working with a woman in Columbus who helped with the placement of planters on sidewalks in that city.

The hanging flowerpots would be placed on alternating light poles along Main Street or U.S. 50 from Bridge Street to Tanner Street.

Some also would be put on light poles along Walnut Street from Main Street to Poplar Street.

Purchasing a watering tank also is factored in, and the town plans to hire someone to use it to water flowers a couple of hours a week from May to August.

That person also could help pull weeds at Heritage Park.

Lawson said they are looking for someone 16 or older, and the person would be paid $450 for the summer. Anyone interested may apply at the town hall.

The beautification project came about after Lawson and other town council members received comments from residents about wanting to beautify the town.

“We’ve been hearing that constantly, ‘We want Brownstown to be cleaned up and look nicer,’” Lawson said. “This is the start of that process.”

Strange and Blake Hackman, an agriculture teacher at Brownstown Central High School, identified nearly 20 areas in Brownstown to develop, landscape and beautify. Those are factored into the five-year plan.

Hackman’s FFA chapter members continue to maintain both entrances of town around the welcome signs and two corners of the courthouse lawn.

Lawson said the Vision 2025 committee, which is an extension of a Seymour group of the same name, is working on activities and projects to conduct in Brownstown.