by Nora Edinger
Have you seen the commercial about the guy who enjoys his new lawn mower so much he starts manicuring the entire neighborhood?
We could use a few more like him.
It happens every late summer. We're all sick of coping with things that grow. Everywhere you look, there are residential, business and government properties that have more weeds than flowering plants by August.
I'm as guilty as the rest -- at least in the fenced-in garden at the back of our property. My tomatoes are surviving on sheer genetic will power, and the remainder of what should be my vegetable garden needs the kind of help only a string trimmer can provide.
My flowers are looking OK because they're mostly in the front yard, and I'd be embarrassed to let them go too badly.
This is the problem: About the only people who see our front yard most weeks are the garbage men.
But when you're talking a post office, a city building, a downtown business -- you're talking a major eyesore and a blow to the whole community's image.
In some downtown Clarksburg areas that shall remain nameless, the weeds are so high you can't even see what paltry flowers remain.
And, other municipalities aren't doing much better. At one Fairmont business, for instance, an ornamental tree that died and fell over has been lying across a sidewalk for several weeks.
We can do better.
Take the Glen Elk neighborhood of Clarksburg, for example. What started as a one-man campaign to turn the former Parson Hotel into a full-service restaurant/banquet facility has turned into a major business/government effort.
The community grows more beautiful each month. There are bricked sidewalks, Victorian-style street lights, flower boxes and benches.
Glen Elk still has a long way to go development-wise, but the beautification efforts have set the stage.
Here and there are several other boosts to a better community image: Major park improvements in Salem and Lewis County, prayer gardens at downtown Clarksburg churches, nicely landscaped employee eating/smoking areas at Clarksburg businesses, beautifully designed storefronts in downtown Buckhannon, junk car removal in Grafton, the revitalized Wharf District in Morgantown.
Now we need more North Central residents and officials to catch the vision.
Making public areas attractive and orderly is a responsibility all of us share. From our own front porch to the community fountain to the storefront, what we do or don't do tells the whole world how we feel about ourselves and our community.
We have a lot to feel good about. Let's live up to it, whether that means some weeding and trimming, a fresh coat of paint or simply cleaning up a little.
Regional Editor Nora Edinger can be reached at 626-1447.