October 28, 2014
The Harvest Foundation has awarded a Pick Up the Pace! grant to the Greater Bassett Area Community Inc. (GBAC), according to a news release.
The $9,590 grant will fund the replacement of 50 diseased and damaged trees along Virginia 57, from Robinhood Road to the Bassett Train Depot — a major gateway into Bassett, according to the release and Nancy Cox, Harvest Foundation senior program officer.
Diseased and damaged trees will be replaced with holly, crape myrtle, dogwood, cyprus, Japanese maple and some other trees, Cox said in a phone interview.
Volunteers from GBAC and the Stanleytown Ruritans have pledged to work a total of 4,544 hours on the project: a total of 304 hours planting by eight volunteers, 4,136 hours of watering by four volunteers and 104 hours of pruning by eight volunteers, Cox said.
“The foundation is extremely pleased to partner with GBAC, a group of engaged, civic-minded Bassett residents who work tirelessly for the beautification of their community,” Cox stated in the release. “The passion and commitment for what they do is amazing!”
According to John “Smokey” Pegram, GBAC president, “We are neighbors working together to enhance our community through beautification, education and recreation. The beautification of the Fairystone Park Highway corridor, coming into Bassett, has been an ongoing effort for more than 40 years — first by the Bassett Jaycees, then the Stanleytown Ruritans, and now GBAC for the past five years.”
“Our group of volunteers cares for the landscaping along this corridor,” Pegram added.
“The cost of mowing, and plant and tree maintenance and replacement (are) paid for through our fund-raising efforts,” said GBAC Publicity Chair Ruby Davis. “Now, we have 50 diseased and damaged trees. This grant allows us to replace these trees with a colorful variety for visual appeal along the corridor, and that will also be beneficial to the wild birds that live in our area.”
“Beautification increases community pride and tells visitors we care about where we live,” Davis added.
Cox said the project ties in with one of the priorities — revitalization/curb appeal — of the Smith River Small Towns collaborative.
Harvest created the collaborative in 2013 with the goal “to bring community leaders around the table to develop a shared vision for place-making and destination tourism for the small towns of Bassett, Stanleytown, Fieldale and Koehler,” Cox has said.
The Harvest Foundation’s Pick Up the Pace! small grants program is designed to engage more people and organizations in the transformation of Martinsville and Henry County. The goal is to encourage everyone to “pick up the pace” to make this a community of choice, the release said.
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