D’town project dedicated

Those who collaborated as part of the recent overhaul of the greenspace at the ‘Milling Around’ art piece gathered Thursday to dedicate the space and officially observe Arbor Day in Clinton.

The Clinton Main Street Program’s Design Committee members, Downtown Dash Committee members, local Boy Scouts, city staff, officials and Public Works employees all gathered Thursday at the renovated park on College Street, the site that was recently overhauled as part of a $5,000 project funded through a Downtown Dash donation.

Many who had a hand in a downtown landscaping endeavor gathered to dedicate the new project while observing Arbor Day, a fitting tribute as the recent overhaul including the planting of numerous shrubs and trees to make the greenspace even greener.

At the Thursday morning ceremony, Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary Rose recognized the Main Street’s Design Committee, who worked with landscape architects on the project, as well as city staff, Public Works crews and local Boy Scouts who all pitched in to see the revamp come to fruition. She also offered her gratitude for the group that put it all in motion — the Downtown Dash Committee.

“Of course, without the contribution of Downtown Dash this would not have been possible,” Rose said, noting the $5,000 donation to the city earlier this year. “We have spent every cent.”

Rose then read an Arbor Day proclamation from Mayor Lew Starling.

In 1872, J. Sterling Morton proposed to the Nebraska Board of Agriculture that a special day be set aside for the planting of trees. Arbor Day, first observed with the planting of more than a million trees in that state, is now observed throughout the nation and the world. Usually observed in the spring, the date on which the holiday is observed can vary, Rose noted.

Clinton chose Thursday.

“Trees can reduce the erosion of our precious topsoil by wind and water, cut heating and cooling costs, moderate the temperature, clean the air, produce life-giving oxygen and provide habitat for wildlife,” Rose read from the proclamation.

Trees are a renewable resource that provide paper, wood for homes, fuel for fires and various other wood products on which many depend, she stated. The city of Clinton has been improved because of the several trees that have now taken root and will grow larger in the years to come.

“Trees in our city increase property values, enhance the economic vitality of business areas and beautify our community,” Rose continued. “Trees, wherever they are planted, are a source of joy and spiritual renewal.”

Months in the making, the landscaping project at the “Milling Around” art piece culminated earlier this month with the finishing touches placed at the site. In all, the endeavor saw the greenspace overhauled and revamped, with numerous new trees, plants and shrubs placed amid new mulch — and the capper, a large millstone installed in the shadow of the artwork that drives that historical motif home, a nod to the city’s past.

The Downtown Dash Committee sponsored the landscaping project and assisted Clinton Public Works Department staff with the plantings, while Boy Scout Troop 80 of Clinton offered additional assistance.

“The Clinton Main Street Program is very appreciative of the $5,000 contribution made by the Downtown Dash to fund this landscape project,” said Rose, who is the Clinton Main Street manager. “Partnerships make great things happen in Downtown Clinton.”

Earlier this year, Downtown Dash presented the $5,000 check to City of Clinton following another success race event held in October, in conjunction with the annual Court Square Street Fair. Previous years’ events have purchased benches, tables and various amenities for the area around the City Market.

Dash committee members said the goal was to continue to put proceeds to use in the downtown, where the race begins and ends each year. Members offered their thanks to the sponsors and participants, saying that they made such a great project possible.

The Arbor Day proclamation, expected to be officially adopted at the City Council’s July 7 meeting, urges citizens to celebrate the holiday by supporting efforts to protect woodlands and planting trees “to gladden the heart and promote the well-being of this and future generations.”