Working to make beautiful decisions

With the new year, the Hays Beautification Committee enthusiastically is moving forward on a series of projects designed to enhance the beautification of our city with an emphasis on drought-tolerant plants and practices. The programs HBC continues to work on include Adopt a Spot, Arbor Day, Project Redbud and tree rebates. Two new projects are drought-tolerant lawns/plantings and Vine Street beautification.

The members of Hays Beautification Committee are appointed by the mayor, with the approval of the Hays City Commission. The HBC was created in 1988 with a mission to study, investigate, develop and recommend those programs and activities that enhance the beautification of our city. The committee works in close conjunction with the Hays Parks Department.

One of the programs and activities listed for the committee in the original strategic plan was "a program addressing the various entrances into the city and actions needed to beautify said area."

Thus, working with the Kansas Department of Transportation and the Hays Parks Department, HBC members are preparing a landscape plan for KDOT review with the hopes of beautifying the off and on ramps at Interstate 70 and Vine. In the future, the committee will be developing plans for drought-tolerant plantings to be established along the edges of Vine Street, which will enhance the entrance into our city.

Through the years with the recognition water is one of our most precious resources, the HBC began to emphasize projects that will encourage the use of drought-tolerant plantings of bushes, trees and grasses. Through the project of drought-tolerant lawns/plantings, the committee will be developing ways to inform and encourage residential and commercial property owners to adopt water conserving landscaping plans. One of the ways we hope to do that is with demonstration plots developed by the Hays Parks Department. Be watching for more information on these opportunities.

Those who have enjoyed the water-wise planting at 21st and Pershing also might have noticed the bird bath disappeared. The HBC is working with the parks department to replace the bird bath that was vandalized.

In future articles, the ongoing projects will be discussed in more depth.

HBC encourages all residential and commercial property owners to consider enhancing or replacing landscaping with drought-tolerant plantings so we can make better use of one of our most precious resources -- water.

HBC meets monthly on the third Thursday at noon at the parks department headquarters. All meetings are open to the public.

Janis Lee is vice chairwoman of the Hays Beautification Committee.