Residents strive to make Bryant more beautiful

By Lisa Burnett Originally Published April 4, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated April 2, 2013 at 5:44 p.m.
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Linda Chandler, a member of the Keep Bryant Beautiful Board, picks up trash during the organization’s citywide cleanup day last fall. Keep Bryant Beautiful strives to beautify the community and reduce the amount of litter found on the city’s streets.

— Residents of the city of Bryant are banding together to beautify their community.

Meagan Vanderpool is the president and founder of Keep Bryant Beautiful, an organization that works with the community to beautify the city of Bryant and reduce litter around the town. The organization was formed in January 2012.

Vanderpool was inspired to start the organization by some of the work she had seen in Pulaski County performed by Keep Little Rock Beautiful.

“I’ve been around the Hillcrest and Kavanaugh area, and the beautification projects they’ve done are just incredible,” Vanderpool said. “Then I realized that Bryant didn’t have anything like that.”

Vanderpool said the city of Bryant has grown immensely in the past few years as a result of people coming to the community because of the quality of the school system.

“We need to make sure the city looks good,” Vanderpool said.

Toward the end of 2011, Vanderpool began meeting with Jill Dabbs, the mayor of Bryant, to organize a beautification project for the community.

“I attended all of the City Council meetings and presented the concept of Keep Bryant Beautiful,” Vanderpool said.

By attending City Council meetings, Vanderpool sparked interest in the project and formed a board to create Keep Bryant Beautiful.

Board members include Vanderpool, Carol Philpott, Linda Chandler, Frankie Rivers, Mechan Vanderpool, Derek Phillips and Alan Kays.

In January 2012, the organization received its tax-identification number and started the process of registering with Keep America Beautiful. The cost of the initial certification with the national organization was $3,000.

Keep Bryant Beautiful hosted the Cowboy Jamboree fundraiser in 2012 to raise the certification money, and Vanderpool said she hopes to continue the event to fund other projects that are in the works.

In 2012, Keep Bryant Beautiful initiated an Adopt-A-Street program for the community.

“We adopted out nine streets last year,” Vanderpool said. “That program has really taken off. [Street adopters] have to clean their street at least four times a year.”

Vanderpool said that before the organization can have its official certification with Keep America Beautiful, she must complete a certification course, which she will do on Saturday.

Since the organization is in the certification process, Vanderpool said Keep Bryant Beautiful has a few grant projects in the works.

“We applied for a $20,000 [Keep America Beautiful] grant to restore ‘Farmstead’ on the high school campus,” Vanderpool said.

Vanderpool said the Farmstead house is one of the oldest homes in the Bryant area.

“We want to restore the physical building and do some landscaping and projects inside the home,” Vanderpool said. “We also want to put a community garden on the property.”

Another goal of the organization is to secure a $5,000 grant sponsored by Lowe’s to beautify a commuter parking lot at the entrance to the city.

“We’re wanting to add some landscaping around the entrance and put up some litter signs,” Vanderpool said. “If we can get these grants, they’ll help us take off even more.”

The organization will find out if it received the grants around April 16, Vanderpool said.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

Online Reporter Lisa Burnett can be reached at 501-378-3887 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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