Councilmember Ceil Allen weeds in the landscaping in Lanesboro as a part of the Weed Up event on Wednesday, June 11.  COURTESY OF DEE SLINDE
Councilmember Ceil Allen weeds in the landscaping in Lanesboro as a part of the Weed Up event on Wednesday, June 11. COURTESY OF DEE SLINDE
Sometimes getting out to enjoy a gorgeous day under a beautiful blue sky takes a great deal more work that one realizes. And sometimes after working indoors for a majority of the day, getting outside to work is rather exciting and fun, especially when the weather is perfect.

On Wednesday, June 11, 19 members of the Lanesboro community turned out to assist in beautifying the downtown area, the bass pond, Sylvan Park, the bike trail and visitors' center, among other areas. The day was bright and sunny and most anyone would appreciate being outdoors.

The activity had a good turn out. Some even came from outside of town to help with the project. A large contingent of the Commonweal Theatre stepped out to help. Several members from the Lanesboro Arts Center also became part of the crew.

"We had to cover a lot of ground," stated Dee Slinde, director of the Lanesboro Chamber of Commerce. "We split up into teams with two or three people in each and spread them out."

The Weed Up day for Lanesboro provided an opportunity to clean up the town to become even more attractive to those who live there and to the tourists that stop by throughout the season. Lanesboro has been doing the activity for several years now, but usually they plan to do it earlier in the year.

"We typically do it earlier in the season, but we had to wait until June this year because of scheduling conflicts. Though it was also good because it gave the weeds time to grow," Slinde commented.

This year, notices were sent out about the activity with the utility bills. The response was tremendous.

"We had planned for spending two hours cleaning up around town. But before cleaning even started, several businesses had done some cleaning up around their own business areas. A number of them are even going to adopt certain areas to keep clean for the season. They made a huge difference," Slinde related.

Even with the cleaning those businesses did prior to the Weed Up time, the crews still had a lot to do. However, with the extra boost the businesses gave, rather than only getting some the areas cleaned within two hours and potentially forcing a few crewmembers to stay later to complete the job, the crew finished cleaning all the areas within one and a half hours. Slinde expressed great appreciation for the commitment of those within the community to offer their assistance in the endeavor.

"The businesses and residents really stepped up to help clean up the common areas because they are an incredibly generous group and really love the town. Councilmember Ceil Allen represented the city. I thought that was great to have someone representing the city help out," she said.

"The city was kind enough to let us borrow weed whackers and Round-Up and the individuals all brought their own tools. We brought the weeds to an area next to the ball field where people can drop off their clippings and guys from the city will clean up," she continued.

Around the downtown, weeds were pulled from cracks in the sidewalks and in the landscaping. The Economic Development Authority (EDA) also participated in beautifying the downtown area by putting historic photos or decals in the windows of buildings that are currently unoccupied. This was to add to the historicity and beauty of the buildings. Others helped to paint the storefronts, giving them a more vibrant look.

"We are grateful for the assistance. We could see visible changes right away," Slinde said.

Being able and willing to support the town in such a way is very much appreciated by both residents and tourists.

"A few days later I spoke with a couple visiting Lanesboro. They said they had been back 29 times and come down about every year. They said it looks beautiful here, which is one reason why they always come back," Slinde added.

Adding to the beauty are many lovely flowers displayed in the town and especially in the flower baskets. These baskets have come from a fairly local supplier in Rushford, but Slinde hopes to be able to get them from the school's horticulture class next year to support the school system and enhance the beauty of the town for the tourists.

"This is such a unique community because everyone is so conscious of Lanesboro looking as nice as possible and putting our best foot forward for the tourists," she noted.

After the work was done, participants were offered refreshments provided by Riverside on the Root and had time to talk afterward.

"Some of the helpers were very energetic. It was a lot of fun to be able to do this with them and talk afterwards," Slinde added. "If we had not had such cooperation from the community we would not have gotten everything done in the time we did. We may have gone past the two hours and stayed later to make sure everything was done. Actually the time was shortened considerably by the business owners."

Since several businesses have already adopted certain areas to keep clean for the season, Slinde hopes the other businesses in town will be challenged to take care of the areas adjacent to their buildings as well.

Like the visiting couple shared, many tourists appreciate the beauty Lanesboro has to offer.