The Chesterfield Beautification Committee's mission is in its name: It makes suggestions to visually perfect parts of the city with landscaping and hosts community events highlighting the area’s floral overachievers.
The committee used to be called the Highway Beautification Committee, said chairwoman Kay Folsom, who has been a part of the committee for 21 years. Once the committee was done with the intersection of Clarkson Road and Highway 40, it seemed the city should be its next outlet.
“We picked the sign for the city,” Folsom said. “We really had been in charge for the first 10 years or so, kind of overviewing everything that was planted and bringing the city’s attention to (landscaping) things that needed to be done.”
The committee's work dots the Chesterfield landscape. It planted the flowers in the median on Clarkson Road. Committee member Marilyn Donovan said the group has most recently finished a similar project on East and West Chesterfield Parkway that included benches for pedestrians. Folsom said the three benches it purchased—which are blue, yellow and green—can be found outside of City Hall, the Samuel C. Sachs Branch of the St. Louis County Library and restaurants on Clarkson Road.
“In the future, we will probably use our money toward putting benches around the Parkway,” Folsom said.
Donovan said the committee has made landscaping suggestions to various businesses, too. “They’ll hire someone to do the plan, and then we’ll make suggestions on the plan,” she said.
In 2005, the committee donated $8,000 to the city to help replant trees along Clarkson Road, Folsom said. The original trees, financed by a federal grant, did not fare well in the area and died. “We had a lot of input on what was planted in the center and on the sides,” Donovan said of Clarkson Road.
In addition to making citywide suggestions, the committee also highlights residents who have gone above and beyond in their home gardens. Folsom said each summer, the committee awards . Before switching to award individual homeowners for their efforts, Folsom said the committee awarded entire residential or commercial areas that had done a good job with their gardens and front entrances.
The committee also hosts garden tours every couple of years. Several residents with exceptional gardens open their homes to the community for tours. The garden tours were started in 2005, and the next one will be in 2012.
“We have had four garden tours, which have been very successful. There are some beautiful yards in Chesterfield. It’s all volunteer,” Folsom said. “We usually have five to six gardens, and each year we keep thinking we have run out of gardens, but we always come up with some beautiful gardens.”
The committee is not funded by the city. It makes money through ticketed events such as their garden tours.
“We are just trying to enhance Chesterfield with plants,” Donovan said.