Evart Garden Club aims to beautify downtown

EVART -- The newly formed Evart Garden Club has approached the city about maintaining the bump-out gardens along Main Street.

In a letter to the city, Garden Club director Kathy Fiebig said the club members believe that the bump-out gardens, when properly maintained will be a significant asset to the downtown district and will help pull motorists off U.S. 10 and bikers off the path.

This is an area where community pride can shine through and can provide a positive first impression of our town, the letter said.

On Monday, March 2, the Evart City Council approved a proposal to amend the contract with Shades of Green Landscaping to remove the care of the bump-outs and give that over to the garden club.

"We were approached by the newly formed garden club that they were interested in taking over the bump-outs," city manager Sarah Dvoracek said. "We met with Josh Phelps from Shades of Green and he agreed to amend the contract to remove the bump-outs and reduce the amount by $2,212."

Devoracek told the council that the proposal to transfer maintenance of the bump-outs to the garden club could potentially save the city some money, but there could be costs incurred with respect to drainage issues.

"The drainage design was poorly done, and I would like to have that issue corrected moving forward, rather than have the mulch float away every time we get a heavy rain," Dvoracek said. "If the garden club does move forward with this, I would like to see what ideas they come up with as far as a solution."

A proposal by the garden club suggests that the current rock channel drainage system be replaced with poured concrete with a rolled edge to keep the silt and mulch out.

Our intention is for this to be an ongoing effort that will enable continued maintenance of the gardens for years to come, the garden club proposal said.

Anyone is invited to join the garden club and help maintain the bump-out gardens. For information, contact evartgardens@gmail.com or call 269-254-3692.

In other business, the city council continues to work to establish the Depot area as an historic district. The council approved an amendment to the Historic Commission Resolution changing the member requirement from seven to five.

"It's a simple amendment correcting it from seven members down to five, because of our population," Dvoracek said. "Requirement number one for re-submitting our application is to have the Historic Commission in place."

The Michigan Historic Preservation Office requires the city establish an Historic District Commission that consists of five members, each of whom must have expert credentials in history, architecture, engineering or construction background before they can receive the historic district designation.

Dvoracek said they hope to have the commission positions filled by the next council meeting.