GARLAND — With the help of a local home improvement store, town leaders are looking forward to improving the look of downtown by placing new trees into the earth.
Lowe’s Home Improvement and its Heroes program is teaming up with the town’s North Carolina Small Towns Economic Prosperity Program (NC STEP) to help revitalize the area by planting trees, re-mulching certain areas and adding flowers and shrubs near Rotary Park.Mary Brown, NC STEP facilitator, presented the program during a Tuesday meeting for town’s commissioners.
“We’re excited,” Brown said the following day. “It’s been timely for Garland. Lowe’s actually initialized the call to us and the offer to assist. So we were fortunate to have them select our town for this project.”
The Heroes program began more than 10 years ago to encourage employees in a location to work together by adopting a volunteer project with a local nonprofit organization or public school. So far, Lowe’s is ready to plant more than 20 trees and the town will provide topsoil. A lot of the focus will be placed on Front Street. Russell Clark, store manager for the Clinton location, said it’s a way for individual stores to give back to the community. With the production of a mural project underway, Clark believes it’ll add to the overall appearance of downtown.
“I think adding all of this together will be a great thing for the community,” Clark said. “I’ve had several employees here in the store who are really excited about seeing it …”
The process began after management took suggestions regarding Heroes from employees and many recommended Garland.
“It was a great opportunity for us to be able to help the largest amount of people possible,” Clark said. “There’s over 600 people who call Garland home, so you’re impacting a great multitude of people. It was something that we’re interesting in doing.”
One of the goals is to bring in more businesses and make it more pleasing for someone to set up shop.
“We’re basically going to give it a facelift,” Clark said. “That way the community can enjoy it, a little bit more.”
For Clark, the upcoming project will be his first time working with a Sampson County community under the Heroes. He’s looking forward to not only store employees lending a hand, but community members as well.
“That’s going to be our task from now until then,” Brown said about securing volunteers to help with lifting, planting and digging.
Volunteer opportunities will begin Tuesday, Sept. 22, and Wednesday, Sept. 23, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Some of the international highlights and projects included the construction of an outdoor classroom in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada; the revitalizing of a community center and two family homes in Boston; and enhancing a facility for children with autism in Hershey, Pa. In Charlotte, more than 60 associates from Lowe’s worked with Fox Sports South and the Charlotte Hornets to make upgrades to Hornets Nest Elementary School.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.