NEW PALESTINE — Alex Griffith took both hands and dug them deep into the potting soil. Once he thoroughly mixed up the dirt, he pulled his hands out and started patting the dirt down. He was making sure it was tilled just right, getting it ready for others to plant spring flowers.
New Palestine Main Street teamed up with the New Palestine High School Garden Cub and the New Palestine Chamber of Commerce to help make the town look better for spring and summer with a beautification day Saturday morning.
Alex’s mother, chamber representative Caralee Griffith, helped organize the event along with the New Palestine Main Street board of directors and community members.
“We’ll be planting eight flower beds along Main Street and a bed at the fire station and 12 flowered pots that will go in various places to help spruce things up,” Griffith said. “We want people to come to our community, and we want it to be an inviting nice place to come and visit.”
Rob Walker, owner of New Palestine Hardware, helped the group get the needed materials, such as soil and plants, at a lower cost and conducted a cookout at the store to thank the group for its help.
“We hold a cookout about three times a year, and when I heard they were planting the flowers, we thought we’d just combine things and feed all the volunteers who came out to work,” Walker said.
He smoked plenty of pulled pork for more than 24 hours, knowing the workers would be good and hungry.
A longtime New Palestine resident, Walker said it’s important to take care of the town that has been so good to him.
“This is home,” he said. “It’s just like me wanting to keep my whole house looking good. I also want to keep the town looking good.”
Main Street board member Becky Gaines designed a layout for the flower beds.
She handed out the design to the adults, who then supervised and helped the high school Garden Club plant the flowers.
“The town needs some work, and you’ve got to care about your hometown,” NPHS Garden Club member Emma Taggart said.
While she and classmate Olivia Dowden admitted as new club members they really didn’t know the kind of flowers they were planting, they did understand the importance of doing so and being part of the high school club.
“I just think it’s important to have places like our school and the town look nice,” Olivia said. “You’ve got to take some pride in the way things look.”
That, Griffith said, is the reason she and others involved with the town take the time to make it look better.
“We just want to get everybody excited about our town,” Griffith said. “We’ve got a lot of summer events coming up, and we want to get everybody ready for it.”
She said they could not hold an event like this without the support of town officials who helped pull the heavy potted plants around and set them up along with offering police protection for the groups who planted the flowers along U.S. 52.