Underneath a cloud-spotted sky and the downtown courthouse, a small group of dedicated workers toil away on one of the often-overlooked gems of the Square. It was one of those humid January mornings that you’d only get in Texas, but the muggy weather wouldn’t stop a group of local green thumbs from rising early and getting to work.
Members of the Rotary Club gathered on Thursday morning to refurbish the planters on the four corners of the Square. The project is part of the club’s ongoing mission to improve the community through service projects downtown and throughout the city. This time, they used their resources to help a friend in need — the City itself.
Due to recent budget cuts, the City is no longer able to care for plants around the Square. Enter Rotary Club, whose members identified this beautification process as a project of interest, then earned the right to refurbish the planters through a grant that required volunteers. These volunteers met with club members at Jupiter House on Thursday morning, then set out to work on the four corners.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of a typical busy day in Denton, a few pedestrians stopped to watch the men and women hard at work. According to Rotary member Shaun Treat, few citizens realize the amount of work that goes into maintaining these small patches of earth.
“I’m not sure most people understand the money, labor, and dedicated attention that it takes to keep our Square so green and beautiful,” he says. But for him and the other volunteers, including Kate Lynass, it’s a labor of love.
“Rotary Club is drawn to project that enhance the city,” Lynass says, “and something like this, while it may seem small, actually completes the look of the Square.”
While taking a break in between the morning planting and the afternoon mulching, Lynass remarked that it has been “a long time” since any sort of refurbishing. These new plants — what Treat calls “a mix of hearty native plants and pretty flowering annuals” — are similar to the plants on Carroll Boulevard, thereby uniting the Square’s aesthetic with other spots in the City. Furthermore, a new brick barrier around each corner will make things easier for cars, pedestrians and maintenance workers — a true win-win-win. That being said, it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for the refurbishing crew.
This undertaking was originally slated for February or March, but talks with the City and a slew of incoming weekend storms pushed the start date up to Thursday, January 12 — something Rotary didn’t see coming until their first meeting back from the holidays.
Luckily this is a team accustomed to scrambling to get things done, and for Treat, it’s been a learning opportunity in more ways than one.
“So much has to happen quickly with planting in the wacky Texas weather,” he says. “Ask anyone who tries to grow anything here. It’s a crapshoot.” But if it makes the Square and the city even more beautiful, then this “crapshoot” is well worth it.
“We have a beautiful Square,” Lynass says, “so let’s use it.