By GREG SCELLIN
The secret’s out.
Community volunteers and leaders celebrated their efforts at successfully promoting and encouraging economic and community development as part of the 47th annual Nebraska Community Improvement Program (NCIP) awards banquet in Kearney. The event capped the third annual Governor’s Conference on Rural Development.
NCIP awards reflect outstanding community and economic development projects. The NCIP awards have several sponsors and are a program administered by the Nebraska Department of Economic Development.
Among this year’s Governor’s Community Spirit Award winners was the City of Geneva. The Geneva Public Library’s Secret Garden received recognition in the Parks, Recreation & Environmental Awareness category. The project tied in the Class III category with the Atkinson Lake Park in Atkinson.
Geneva GAED director Val Turner wrote the application for the award and applied for it. Award winners were notified last week. Pat Schake is the supervisor of the Secret Garden project. Margaret Nichols, Donna Fairley and Nancy Nichols have also donated countless hours to the attractive addition to the Geneva Public Library grounds.
“It’s nice that Geneva got some recognition,” Fairley said. “This is an important thing for us.”
Schake and fellow volunteers began the project four years ago. The ladies said students from all three buildings at Fillmore Central have helped at the Secret Garden. They also noted that because of the increased workload associated with the landscaping, two paid employees (by the City of Geneva) helped keep the garden up this past year for the first time.
“We’ll be going into our fifth year,” Margaret Nichols said. “Our goal was to get it back like it was. We’ve done that and more. We’d just like to keep it maintained now with the help of the city.”
The ladies also mentioned that volunteer help during spring and fall clean-up at the garden is also appreciated. And, don’t be surprised if they knock on your door for a little extra encouragement to help.