Two local beautification committees won a total of $125,000 to continue what is becoming a dynasty in Cooke County.

Keep Lindsay Beautiful received a $60,000 award for landscaping projects, and Keep Muenster Beautiful received $65,000, as part of the Governor’s Achievement Awards program of Keep Texas Beautiful. Keep Lindsay Beautiful won first place in the Category 1 competition for cities of up to 1,000 in population and Keep Muenster Beautiful received a first place award for Category 2, for communities up to 3,500, Keep Texas Beautiful announced.

Chapters may receive their awards and trophies during an official ceremony in June at the Keep Texas Beautiful annual conference in Irving.

Each local Keep Texas Beautiful affiliate is asked to submit a yearly application to retain affiliation and so a state-level committee may determine award winners. Muenster and Lindsay received a score of 90 or higher, as did Keep Valley View Beautiful (which won a Governor’s Achievement Award in 2006) and Keep Whitesboro Beautiful.

“The awards really give incentive to smaller towns that are financially strapped,” said Dr. Elaine Schilling, president of Keep Muenster Beautiful.

A prior Governor’s Achievement Award won by Keep Muenster Beautiful was used to help build a stone fence and gateway in Muenster City Park, the site of the annual Germanfest.

Schilling said there were two major projects undertaken by the chapter this year — a mural on a former cheese factory and a pledge system involving free T-shirts for those who promise to keep the western Cooke County town clean.

The mural, Schilling said, is 160 feet in length and covers a wall of the former AMPI plant in downtown Muenster near U.S. Highway 82 and Main Street.

“All paint was donated by the Community Lumber Co., and all service hours were from those who wanted to come paint,” Schilling said in an interview Monday.

She added Laura Marshall spearheaded the mural project, which features a German flag, the city of Muenster logo and other aspects of the rural, German-Texan community.

Schilling said Keep Texas Beautiful hopes to include a photo of the mural, when completed, on its Web site.

Betsy Fleitman, president of Keep Lindsay Beautiful, said her chapter received the Governor’s Achievement Award in 2005 and planned to build a community entrance sign on Highway 82. But due to a problem with the contractor the project has not been implemented. There are plans to continue, she said.

Fleitman said the centerpiece of her chapter’s report to Keep Texas Beautiful this year was clean-up efforts after the June 18, 2007, flood when a creek through town over-ran its banks and damaged several nearby homes.

“It involved everyone from Cub Scouts to high school students to senior citizens,” Fleitman said “We couldn’t have done it if everyone hadn’t pitched in and helped.”

Fleitman said Keep Lindsay Beautiful continued its Adopt-a-Highway program participation, built a walking path in the Lindsay city park and continued its recycling program, which includes a trailer for paper at the park, can collection at Lindsay School and an effort to retrieve old cellular phones and ink cartidges to keep them out of landfills.

As for the multiple wins in Cooke County, Fleitman said there may be some jealousy from other parts of Texas, but there’s a reason why nearby communities have done so well.

“Cooke County has a community spirit that is unbelievable,” Fleitman said. “People don’t realize how hard residents work to keep their communities neat, pretty and special.”

Reporter Andy Hogue may be contacted at andyhoguegdr@ntin.net

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