GARLAND — Leaders in town are moving forward with a mural to represent Garland to visitors and motorists passing through.
The project was discussed with the Garland Board of Commissioners and Mary Brown, facilitator for the North Carolina Small Towns Economic Prosperity Program (NC STEP), which is designed to help towns facing economic hardships. Currently, the organization is in charge of the project and is working with an artist on a design.
“We’re working on finalizing the print so it can be presented,” Brown said about drafting preliminary drawings.
The ideal location for the mural is a spot next to the Sampson County Sheriff’s Annex, near Rotary Park. Officials believe the location will make it visible to people traveling along U.S. 701 Highway. Officials previously stated that they would like to have something to help enhance the look of the town.
During her presentation, Brown said they welcome input from commissioners and the public.
“We’re getting different ideas from people,” Brown said about the design.
Some of them include Garland’s past, successful residents and previous matters. Mayor Winifred Murphy said some of the work may be related to the slogan “Greatness Grows in Garland” and other historical aspects such as agriculture and the nearby railroad.
Commissioners said they would like to see the final product before actual work begins.
“Hopefully we can get that done by the August meeting,” Murphy said referring to a time frame.
Funding for the NC STEP grant is expected to expire in the fall. Previously, the estimated cost for the work was between $4,000 and $5,000.
In 2014, NC STEP picked members for key positions within the group help promote economic growth, improve infrastructure and attract people to town. Brown was selected as the facilitator for the organization. Along with the mural project, some of the previously mentioned ideas included revitalization of Front Street, cruise-in car shows and restaurants.
Operated through the N.C. Rural Center, NC STEP began in 2006 as focus of the Small Town Initiative. With a purpose of helping struggling towns, the organization helps through training scholarships, coaching assistance, planning grants and project implementation grants.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.