Helper's residents young and old catching a case of beautification fever
|In 1910 Helper residents pulled on their ice skates and twirled around the outdoor ice rink. The red circle shows the fireplace that still stands today and is being repaired and restored.|
It appears that the enthusiasm for making Helper a prettier place is contagious. Beautification fever started by Neida Garcia and Lois Giordano in November spread across the town and has infected Boy Scout Troop 271.
Members of the troop are opting to spend their spare time repairing and cleaning up areas of Helper from the fireplace that once provided heat to ice skaters to the walkway that winds through Spring Canyon.
"On one of our hikes I noticed that eight to 10 of the poles that separate the walkway from the road had fallen down," said Kevin Mastin, 13, who was leading a crew of fellow scouts on a gravel raking mission at the walkway.
The city was bringing in loads of gravel and the ambitious group was patiently raking it into the areas of the road that had eroded over the winter.
Joining Mastin in the endeavor was Chris Howell, 14, who has also undertaken a major project. He is helping restore the ice skating rink fireplace that had been overgrown and hidden for many years.
Howell said he decided on the effort for his Eagle Scout project and enlisted the help of not only other scouts but several adults with chainsaws and trucks, including his grandfather Grant Howell.
The women dubbed by Helper Mayor Mike Dalpiaz as "Helper's beauties" brought the idea of forming a beautification committee to the council last winter. In the past seven months their energetic determination has resulted in an army of volunteers taking on projects all over town.
At the June 5 city council meeting Garcia and Giordano reeled off a long list of efforts either about to be started, in progress or nearly finished.
"We've placed the large planters and filled them with flowers," Garcia said. "We've heard a lot of positive comments already."
Grecian urns bearing flowers in front of city hall, hanging flower pots from light poles, getting light poles painted, painting park benches and the gazebo, cleaning up the parkway and the cemetery and a new "Welcome to Helper" sign are but a few of the projects the beauties and their volunteer army have undertaken.
"The stimulation you have done with people all over town is very exciting," Dalpiaz said.
|Chris Howell with some assistance helps the town rediscover a lost historical treasure - the fireplace that once warmed Helper's ice rink.|
Just about anywhere someone goes in downtown these days they will see the beautification committee's handiwork either completed or about to get underway.
"We are preparing to do the children's area on the parkway," Garcia told the council.
Looking over with a smile at Orlando Ochoa, the city's public works supervisor Garcia said, "And we have a little list of things we want to get together."
Looking a bit weary, Ochoa smiled back admitting that he recently asked the ladies when they were going to take a vacation. However, time off does not appear to be in their schedule and as long as they working so is everybody else.
They have recruited employees from downtown businesses, including Key and Wells Fargo banks to plant flowers and help brighten up Main Street.
And of course the city's public works employees have done their fair share from coming up with watering systems for the new flora to removing and replacing unsightly wooden barrels the ladies have kept them busy.
The nonstop effort in the city seemed much like a pipe dream when Garcia and Giordano first presented their idea.
At that November meeting finding enough manpower and funds to accomplish the goals being set by the "beauties" appeared daunting to a city strapped for cash and resources. And the ladies were given a caveat that getting volunteers could be quite challenging.
No matter they forged ahead finding an abundance of volunteers and ongoing donations to transform their hometown.
In November, Garcia said let's make Helper "the little town that could" and it appears that she is getting her wish as it is becoming the little town that is.
Anyone wishing to help in the effort can make a tax deductible donation at the Utah Power Credit Union. Make checks payable to the Helper Community Development Committee and note donations are for the Helper Beautification Committee.