Wooden wagons line Lusk’s Main Street once again—wooden wagon box planters, that is. Two years ago, the Niobrara County Chamber of Commerce organized a volunteer group consisting of members looking to improve Main Street; the committee is called The Main Street Vitalization Committee. In the early stages of the committee, a quick list was formed to determine requirements for any improvements. Per Vicki Boldon, a Main Street Vitalization member, those requirements included, “Large enough to add to the overall aesthetics in an almost sculptural and significant manner…to be used year round…required minimal regular maintenance…need to have significant connections with our area history and our western lifestyle”. Two years into the making, the wooden wagon box planters arrived.
In 2016, due to low funds and the inability for assistance, Boldon donated flowers, planters, and her time to take care of them, placing them along Main Street. And she wasn’t the only one on the committee looking to move forward, “Bloomers chose to order hanging petunia baskets from a Rapid City greenhouse and sell them [to] some of the businesses who then owned them and cared for them. Karen and Jane, at Lickety Stitch, and Bobby at Same As It Once Was, added their own plants and care for them. We all feel that the more colorful our downtown is, the better; not only for the traveling public, but also for those of us who live and work here”.
With the coming of 2017 and the summer months around the corner, the Main Street Vitalization Committee had a chance at some outside funding; “We had the opportunity to get some assistance through Pastor Shaner, from one of the flood recovery groups which had some funds that had not been used”. The funds went to support the purchase of four of the wagon planters through the Chamber of Commerce.
“We chose to design a wagon box planter that is reminiscent of the mining carts of our past” states Boldon, who worked with a manufacturer in Missouri on the wheels and axels. The committee then looked to getting younger members of the community involved when “Mr. Nelson generously agreed to have the wood tech class build the wooden boxes with cedar decking”.
Each wagon holds three twenty-one gallon plastic tubs where, “One of the tubs acts as a water reservoir on the bottom and the other two tubs have been fitted with a wicking material and a filler tube to simplify the care by needing to be watered only once a week” explains Boldon. Through her greenhouse, Boldon was able to pick the plants that accompanied the wagons, careful to choose ones appropriate to our climate.
The committee met once again to determine another quick list of requirements, this time for the wagons they were getting ready to line Main Street with. That list included deciding on placement and who would care for the flowers in the wagons. “With the planters that are owned by Hometown Country and the Niobrara Health and Life Center, we now have six” states Boldon, adding, “Will Boldon arranged for Royce [Thompson], John [Eddy], Pete [Kruse], and Rory [Norberg] from the Town of Lusk to help him pick up [wagons] from the high school shop and deliver the wagons to their around-town places”. Those locations include Same As It Once Was, Bank of the West parking lot, Baptist Church on Main Street, and by Lickety Stitch.
“In the future, we would like to add more planters to our community because Lusk’s highways are a well-traveled ‘Welcome to Wyoming’, and Main Street is certainly more than a few blocks long” comments Boldon. When summer ends and we move into fall and winter, towns people and travelers can expect, “…the wagon boxes to be filled with seasonal décor, like evergreen for the holidays and possibly solar lights”.