Volunteers with a citizens committee are preparing to make a push to make Carthage bloom with flowers and shrubs.

Volunteers with a citizens committee are preparing to make a push to make Carthage bloom with flowers and shrubs.
The Vision Carthage Committee has signed on to a program called America in Bloom and created a committee that is working with city, school and county officials to add flowers and flowering shrubs to a number of locations to bring more spring and summer color to the Maple Leaf city.
Carthage in Bloom is a committee headed by Carthage residents Abi Almandinger and Brian Stringer. They've been meeting with the Jasper County Commissioners about installing irrigation and planting flowers along the Jasper County Courthouse foundation and at the edges of the wall near the sidewalk around Carthage's crown jewel.
Almandinger said the committee is also working with the Carthage School District to plant flowers at Fairview Elementary School and the new Carthage Intermediate Center, with the Fair Acres Family Y and with the Carthage Public Library.
The committee is also hoping to encourage residents to plant more flowers around their homes and turn Carthage into a palate of spring and summer color.
“The goal of America in Bloom is to help towns beautify themselves through volunteerism and communities working together,” Almandinger said. “So we thought that fit into the Vision Carthage mission very well and we are calling ourselves Carthage in Bloom. We're starting with the Courthouse and want to infuse the beauty of the courthouse we already have, with it's castle-like structure, with flowers everywhere and really brighten it up and be proud of the town that we're in and improve it anyway we can.”
Plans are for work days on Saturdays starting on March 31 and running to April 21, with April 28 as a backup work day.
The first priority is working on the courthouse, installing a drip irrigation system to water flowers along the Courthouse foundation, in the concrete planters at the sidewalks leading to Courthouse and along the low walls around the edge of the Courthouse lawn.
The Jasper County Commissioners have said they will commit some money to the drip irrigation system, but they are still working with Almandinger and Stringer to decide how much.
Almandinger said the Mimosa Garden Club takes care of the flower pots around the Courthouse every year, but members of the club have said many of their number are having health problems and could use some help.
“One of the main problems is all this work is very time intensive and a lot of maintenance is needed and it wears people out,” Almandinger said. “So we're trying to do it the right way to help everyone by starting with drip irrigation and getting in a good system that can get the maintenance down and get the watering under control because that's what really is taking so much time and such a big toll on people. If we can get that manageable then we can more easily have the beautiful flowers around.”
Work days are currently scheduled to start at 8 a.m. on Saturdays, March 31, April 7, April 14 and April 21.
People interested in volunteering can call Almandinger at 417-793-6589. The group is also taking cash donations to help pay for the flowers and other improvements.