Evart Garden Club continues its work on downtown flowerbeds

Monarch Waystations established

EVART - If you are wondering who is responsible for the beautiful flowers and plantings around the city, look no further than the local Evart Garden Club.

In March 2020, the Evart city council amended their contract with Shades of Green Landscaping and turned over care of the bump-outs along Main Street to the Evart Garden Club.

At its meeting last night, the council approved additional funding in the amount of $2,500 for the Garden Club to continue its work this spring, cleaning, mulching, planting and maintaining the various flower beds around town.

"The work that they did last year speaks volumes to their dedication," city manager Sarah Dvoracek said. "Our bump-outs have never looked so good, so kudos to the garden club for having such passion."

Assistant city manager Mark Wilson added that the city recognizes not only the dedication, but the money they saved.

"With the program we were previously using, we didn't have the knowledge to produce what the garden club has been able to do, and we were spending twice as much or more on the flower beds than what they are asking," Wilson said. "The appearance of the flowerbeds has been maintained as good as when they were first put in."

Council member Mark Hildebrand said that dollar for dollar the city has never made a better investment.

"Their work exceeded expectations by ten-fold, and they didn't spend all the money we gave them initially," Hildebrand said. "I am excited that they want to do it a second year."

The duties this year will also include the library flowerbed along US-10.

City clerk Kathy Fiebig, a member of the Evart Garden Club, told the board that the funding this year would focus on improving the library flower bed and procuring Monarch Waystation designation and signs.

Monarch Waystations are places that provide resources necessary for monarchs to produce successive generations and sustain their migration.

Monarch habitats can be certified as an official Monarch Waystation by Monarch Watch. Those habitats are included in the Monarch Waystation Registry, an online listing of Monarch Waystations worldwide, and are awarded a certificate including the habitat's unique Monarch Waystation ID number.

Metal signs that identify the monarch habitat as an official Monarch Waystation can be purchased to help convey the monarch conservation message to those who visit the habitat and encourage them to create their own Monarch Waystation.

"These are all native plants and all of Main Street is now a Monarch Waystation, so we might as well promote that," Fiebig said. "We want visitors to stop and look at the flower beds, and maybe they will stop in other places too."

"Everything we do is perennials with a mix of shrubs and wildflowers," she added. "Our goal is to put ourselves out of business by creating beds that are self-sustaining for years to come."

Along with the beautification efforts being put into the downtown area, is a plan to add bike racks and benches.

A subcommittee of the Downtown Development Authority has been working with Ferris State University on getting custom bike racks designed for the downtown area.

"We have been working with FSU students on the custom bike rack designs, and just about the time they were getting ready to move forward, COVID-19 shut the campus down," Fiebig said. "Mark Proctor, whom we have been working with contacted me and told me they were now caught up and we are next, so they are working on the designs right now and all we will have to do is pay for the materials."

"We will be getting bike racks that are customized for Evart for a fraction of the price that we would be able to get them commercially," she said.

In other business, the council approved the following:

• An amended noise ordinance. To view changes, visit evart.org.

• A standard operating procedures policy for boards and commissions

• A motion to adopt standardized procedures for all appointments to boards and commissions