Planting partnership

Clinton Main Street Program Design Committee members revamp a large planter outside the Sampson County Courthouse on Friday, one of many projects aimed at improving the appearance of the downtown.

This beautification project was the product of an idea born just 48 hours earlier. The Clinton Main Street Design Committee in partnership with the Sampson County Public Works Department revamped the landscaping at the former fountain now used as a planter in the downtown courtyard.

A heavily-trafficked area in downtown Clinton looks a little nicer after a city-county partnership and some hard work by members of the Clinton Main Street Program Design Committee.

On Friday morning, committee members, in partnership with the Sampson County Public Works Department, set out to revamp the landscaping of the former fountain in the heart of downtown, now being utilized as a planter in the courtyard adjacent to the Sampson County Courthouse.

“Partnerships make great things happen,” stated Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary Rose, who serves as the Clinton Main Street manager. “This partnership was organized in 48 hours by our volunteers and Sampson County Public Works.”

Design Committee members Wendy Carr and Debbie Roberts, recently recognized as the 2014 Clinton Main Street Champion, were among those who helped make the project happen. Both said they were excited when they heard about the partnership and the quick pace at which it would be accomplished.

Design Committee chair Beth Stewart, who also serves as president of the Clinton Development Corporation, said praised the partnership and looked forward to future joint endeavors.

“We greatly appreciate the County Public Works Director (Lee Cannady) partnering with us to brighten this area of Downtown Clinton,” she said, “and look forward to partnering on more projects in the future.”

Rose said the Design Committee’s goal is “to create an inviting downtown atmosphere with the objective of encouraging business and residential development while maintaining the historic character within Downtown Clinton.”

The partnership presented itself during a Design Committee meeting, after which Cannady was contacted and offered to purchase the plant materials for the project. Volunteers assisting with the project installation were Wendy Carr, Beth Stewart, Debbie Roberts and all members of the Design Committee, which also includes Denise Edge, Chris Sessoms, Julie Stefanovich and Carlyn Wall, as well as Rose and City planner Lyden Williams.

Rose initiated the project and the Design Committee took it from there.

“I was walking downtown (Wednesday) and I walked past the old fountain, and I noticed that the plants had passed on,” Rose said. “I called Lee Cannady with Sampson County Public Works and he made us such a great offer — he said he would pay for the plants if our committee would like to install them.”

The Main Street Program’s Economic Restructuring Committee and Promotions Committee have made great strides recently in marketing the downtown through the placement of billboards on I-40 and the development of an incentives proposal that would encourage more commercial and residential development in the downtown.

The Design Committee is doing its share too, with the courthouse planter one of the many projects in and around the downtown.

The design group recently partnered with the Downtown Dash Committee to accomplish another landscaping project at the “Milling Around” art piece and will soon be undertaking the Downtown Recycle Art Walk along Ferrell and John streets.

“(The Design Committee is also) looking forward to the completion of the wayfinding project which will soon be under contract,” Rose said.