LUSK – Before Lusk’s business owners open their doors on the first Thursday of each month, they come together at 8 a.m. to brainstorm ways to revitalize our community spirit, hence their organization’s name, Lusk ROCS.
It all started with a flower pot several years ago, according to Lusk ROCS President Twila Barnette, who owns Bloomers flower shop.
“We decided we wanted Main Street to be beautiful and cleaned up,” Barnette said. “We started trying to decide how we could get things looking better, so we started out just basically as putting out flowers.”
From there, the group added the wagons that are now visible up and down Main Street in addition to large metal containers holding flowers.
Now a certified 501(c)(3), Lusk ROCS applies for and receives grant funding to continue the beautification that brought them together in the first place, while planning more community activities and creating more incentives to encourage locals and visitors alike to visit shops and restaurants.
Barnette calls it, “linger a little longer in Lusk.”
“We want people sticking around and enjoying our area,” she said. “We have a lot to offer.”
Lusk ROCS has their hand in a lot of community activities with different subcommittees handling different aspects of the community.
One committee plans the town’s farmers’ market that takes place on Tuesdays through September. During Niobrara County School District No. 1’s homecoming week, store owners decorated their windows for a prize.
Karen Wisseman, owner of Lickety Stitch Quilt Shop and Lusk ROCS secretary, said the organization functions as a way not only for individuals in the community to get involved but also for downtown merchants to connect with one another.
Barnette said stores distribute coupons for other downtown businesses to encourage everyone to shop small businesses in Lusk.
“We have a coupon book where we just trade the coupons in and out,” she said. “We just try to be very supportive of each other.”
Barnette said each year the organization takes on one major project. This year, they are looking to purchase outdoor musical percussion instruments and solar lights for the trees lining Main Street.
“It just makes it a little more festive and welcoming,” she said.
For the musical instruments, Barnette said they’ve received $9,000 in grant funding from various entities, and they’ve received bids from companies who sell them. One includes four musical flowers and five drums.
“They’re just big outdoor colorful musical instruments that people can play,” she said.
Lusk ROCS has several events coming up. One is a Chili Night in Wyoming, a chili cookoff that will be held in December.
The organization is hosting their first annual “Pie-esta Festival” on Oct. 24 at the Niobrara County Fairgrounds. Attendees will receive a free lunch and can sample the various pies community members will bake for just $6. There will be a cornhole tournament and other activities for kids.
“We’re just wanting to encourage people and families, bring your kids and come down to the fairgrounds,” Wisseman said.
For more information about Lusk ROCS and upcoming events, visit their Facebook page, Lusk ROCS.