DENHAM SPRINGS -- Half a dozen volunteers spent a recent afternoon sprucing up downtown Denham Springs.
Now, they’re hoping people will come out to smell the roses.
Volunteers from Keep Livingston Beautiful, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and maintaining the natural beauty of the Livingston Parish community, recently added an assortment of plants and flower pots in front of businesses in the Denham Springs Antique Village.
Keep Livingston Beautiful had planned to complete the project in the beginning of March, but those plans were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, which forced a weeks-long shut down of the Antique Village.
Now, after a period of uncertainty, all businesses in downtown Denham Springs have reopened, said Main Street Manager Donna Jennings, also a member of Keep Livingston Beautiful (KLB).
Speaking to The News before her and other volunteers wheelbarrowed their tools and supplies around the downtown area, Jennings said the beautification project served a two-fold purpose: to brighten up the Antique Village and let people know they’re open for business.
“Not only are we doing a beautification project for Keep Livingston Beautiful, we’re hoping to increase foot traffic in the Village,” she said. “People are gonna be walking by, and we want them to see some beauty and know that we’re open. It’s been a stressful time for everyone, but we’re still here.”
Along with Jennings, other volunteers included KLB co-chairs Lynda Gardiner and Eric Edwards (also the Livingston Parish Tourism director), Jonathan Taylor and Hunter Miller of the tourism’s office, and Al Bye of the Merchants Association. The group gathered at Old City Hall before making their way throughout the Antique Village.
KLB purchased about a dozen antique flower pots for the project from the locally-owned Pop’s Antiques, while the plants, dirt, and sand came from Clegg’s Nursery in Denham Springs. Each flower pot was filled with multicolored drift roses and a variety of daisies and other small flowers.
“We just want to brighten everyone's day,” Jennings said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
The beautification project is one of many that Keep Livingston Beautiful (KLB) has completed in the parish since its inception 19 years ago, according to Gardiner.
Founded in 2001, the organization is an affiliate of the Keep America Beautiful (KAB) program with a mission “to support Livingston Parish in keeping the environment clean and litter-free and to teach, promote, and educate litter awareness,” according to its website.
The organization is currently made up of around 15 members, Gardiner said, who volunteer their time to “beautifying their community.”
KLB has organized numerous litter pick-up days throughout the parish, picking up tons of waste carelessly thrown aside over the years. According to the KLB website, Livingston Parish generates about 80 million pounds of waste per year, with each person generating 4.4 pounds of waste per day.
The group has also donated time and money to multiple schools and areas in the parish to help locals add a touch of beauty to their own communities.
Most recently, the organization provided funds to a community-led project to add a welcome sign and flag pole to the Watson area last July. Other projects include adding trees and gardens to school campuses, funding community parks and playgrounds, and purchasing trailers for the Sheriff’s Office’s clean-up program.
“Our goal is to hit the whole parish,” Gardiner said.