Monday, February 19, 2018

Keep Longview Beautiful showcases city, projects at regional conference

By Jimmy Daniell Isaac
Sept. 20, 2016 at 11:40 p.m.

Kim Droege, left, with Keep Longview Beautiful talks Tuesday to a group of representatives from other regional community beautification programs while taking a tour  of the local organization's projects.

More than 40 beautification ambassadors from across East Texas converged Tuesday on Longview to learn from a member of Keep Texas Beautiful.

They came, they discussed and they toured the city with Keep Longview Beautiful Executive Director Kim Droege as their guide.

"Keep Longview Beautiful has a great reputation," Christine Chute Canul, senior program director for Keep Texas Beautiful, said at Tuesday's regional conference.

Longview was selected as host city for the East Texas conference because of its statewide reputation, she said.

"We like to find a host that has some great programs and projects to highlight, so when we were coming to East Texas, we thought about Keep Longview Beautiful and Kim and all the great work that her and the board have been doing here," Canul said.

Droege and Keep Longview Beautiful board members showcased their organization, its projects and plans for beautifying their city. Helpful hints included using technology such as Google Drive, forming partnerships within the community, maintaining an air of appreciation, staying humble and nonpartisan and also planning strong events and projects as well as just having fun, Droege said.

They also shared advice for finding not just beautification success, but also respect and volunteerism within their communities.

"We don't go out to gossip. We don't go out and talk about people," Droege said. "We are here to keep Longview beautiful."

Ambassadors hailed from nearby Gladewater and Henderson, but also Athens, Center and cities farther away.

What seemed to make the biggest impression on the group was Art from the Heart, a program in which Keep Longview Beautiful uses donated artworks to adorn parks and other points of interest around the city.

When the tour bus parked at the Paul G. Boorman Trail and noticed orange-painted bicycles along the trail at H.G. Mosley Parkway, several ambassadors could be heard saying "Ooo … ahh … Oh, I love it!" That caused Droege to grin from ear to ear.

"Keep Longview Beautiful has done an excellent job because of the artwork," said Erroll Tatum, organizer for Keep Elkhart Beautiful.

From its logo to the many grants and Governor's Community Achievement awards the Longview organization has achieved, Canul said beautification groups across the state respect and are mindful of Keep Longview Beautiful.

"We've highlighted at several campaigns the new logo, so there's a wide audience for Keep Longview Beautiful that's very interested in Keep Longview Beautiful and many of its programs and projects," she said.



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