Beautification projects begin in Yazoo

By CATHRYN CARTWRIGHT,

The first stage of Keep Yazoo City Beautiful's community beautification project was recently completed thanks to the combined efforts of local business owners, city workers, and other community volunteers.

The city of Yazoo City received a $25,000 grant from Canadian National Railroad earlier this year for tree planting and beautification throughout the city.  Yazoo City was among six Mississippi cities provided with this beautification effort, and city leaders will work closely with representatives from CN Railroad, America In Bloom, and the state Urban Forest Council until the projects are complete.

Crews recently met early in the morning to get started with a community garden at the Garden House on Calhoun Avenue and to replant the large flowerpots located downtown on the sidewalks of Main Street.

"The Mississippi Urban Forest Council chose the day that we were planting," said Sheila Trimm, KYCB Director. "We chose to meet at 8:30 that morning to get the plants and trees in the ground before the heat of the day set in."

Some of the plants and trees chosen for the Garden House on Calhoun included persimmon and crabapple trees, blueberry bushes, hydrangeas, gardenias, roses, and irises.

Leading the landscaping design for this project was Phyllis Vandevere, and her brother Phillip Vandevere Jr. from MSU Extention - Yazoo County Office, who laid out markers for each area where plants and trees were placed in the ground. 

Members of the Yazoo City Street Department, Fire Department, and Junior Auxiliary assisted with digging holes, and carefully placing each new plant into the ground at the Garden House.  Local youth, James Patterson from Benton Academy, and Morgan Trimm from McCoy Elementary assisted with the project by watering the plants once they were placed in the ground.

Mayor Diane Delaware, who played an integral part in achieving this grant for the City of Yazoo City, also visited the planting sites to check on the completion of the projects that day.

"The purpose of planting at the Garden House on Calhoun Avenue, is to create a community-based garden where individuals can come and interact with each other and with nature," Trimm said. "Our goal is for members of the community to come in and not just pick the fruit, but to also water, weed, and maintain the garden for years to come.  This is just the first of many projects we will bring to Yazoo City."

Trimm added that community youth organizations like the Boys and Girls Club of Yazoo City will also be helping to maintain the gardens as well.

Holly Coleman, owner of Good Hope General Merchandise in downtown Yazoo City, led the project to replant the flower pots on Main Street.  Earlier in the week an effort was made to move the old flower containers from the street and onto the sidewalks of Main Street, opening up some much needed parking on the busy street and also brightening up the sidewalks for visitors.

Each of the flowerpots were decorated with a wide variety of plants and flowers in vibrant colors, some of which include vinca, blue daze, angelonia, coleus, and lantana.

"We just really used this grant to improve the look of Main Street and made it more inviting to visitors who come downtown," said Coleman. "Hopefully we will have more opportunities to do more planting here in the future."

Assisting Coleman with the Main Street planting project were Kay Mills from the Yazoo County Soil and Water Conservation District, Pam McPhail, and Zelee Delaware, who worked tirelessly in the sun, pulling wagons and planting flowers on every block.

Keep Yazoo City Beautiful will host another community planting day in the near future which will focus on the areas of the Triangle Cultural Center on Main Street, and the Willie Morris Parkway.

If you or members of your organization want to participate in the next community planting day, please call Sheila Trimm at 662-590-8148.