Promoting Beauty in Polk County          

Polk County Appearance Commission

Appearance Commission Minutes
Tuesday, November 22, 2015

The Polk County Appearance Commission met at The First Peak Visitor’s Center at 5:35pm.
In attendance were Joe Cooper, Christine Mariotti, and Ernie Kan.  Absent were Cathy Brettman and David Friday.  Guests were Melinda Massey and Carolyn Ashburn. 
The minutes from the November meeting were approved.

Christine read a letter of endorsement by The Appearance Commission for Jamie Carpenter as executive director of Tryon Downtown Development Association.   Christine will send the statement to TDDA as support for Jamie as the PCCF grant for her salary was not approved in the last grant cycle. 

Presentation:  Melinda Massey, Director of Polk County Travel and Tourism, reported on the Visitor’s Center landscaping.  For the last couple of years the Daffy Jill’s Garden Club has helped to maintain the plantings but they are no longer able to do this and the job has fallen to the Visitor’s Center employees.  The gardens need a more professional caretaking system. 

 Joe Cooper indicated that the maintenance be shifted to a professional sub-contractor who is also a landscape contractor so that the existing plants can be preserved and some additional plantings added that are in keeping with the design.  
Joe proposed that the Appearance Commission give the Visitors Center $500-$650 for hiring a landscape professional and also for maintenance of the area.  The motion was passed.  Melinda will find the appropriate person to do this work, perhaps Scott Wellborn as a consultant for the type of plantings to be used.

Melinda also said that the inside of the Visitor’s Center is more important than landscaping at present and that Gillian Drummond, an interior designer, is coming to draw up plans for the bathroom and reception area which are in need or updating.

Melinda also mentioned the Way finding signs in Polk County and that they are on “fast track” in preparation for the World Equestrian Games coming in September of 2018.  The Eco-Tourism Board is funding a study to determine the number and cost of signs.  It is estimated that the cost will be somewhere around $150,000.  Since Rutherfordton has already approached a plan for signs in their area, Melinda suggested that Polk County come up with a unified plan that shows signs with similar design and color for Polk County and also signs for the towns that are individual to their locations to set them apart from county signs.  Polk County has a billboard ordinance that has to be adhered to when planning proposed signs.  She has a meeting coming up with the Eco-Tourism Board and it will be determined if a particular company such as Teague Engineering will be doing the work. Melinda estimated that the signage would perhaps be in place by July/August of 2018.

When Joe Cooper asked Melinda what suggestions she would have for visual improvements to our county her response was as follows:

1. She would like to see more public art projects such as “The Art of the Horse” and /or murals or sculpture throughout the County.
2. She would like to see more attention to the Gateways to our county and that they should be improved.  There should be continuity in any approach that is designed and that it is aligned with the “Points of Pride” for our County.
    One suggestion that she had was to consider Bridge Art on the overpasses,     particularly near The Tryon International Equestrian Center.  She believed     that TIEC is already considering this idea and that it might be brought up to     the County Commissioners to consider.

David Friday will be asked to upload all grant applications to the website.

The Matching Grant Applications were due on November 15 and we have two applications.  One from the Tryon Downtown Development Association for landscape improvements to the intersection of Route 108 and Harmon Field Road.
The second application is from the Town of Saluda for landscaping and plantings around the Saluda entrance sign.  Both applications have been approved.  The amount of the grants will total near $2000.

Carolyn Ashburn suggested that we get started advertising the next cycle of grants that are coming up.  The deadline for matching grants is February 15, 2017.  Notification of grants is March 1, 2017 and the monies must be spent by May 31, 2017. 

David Friday will be writing a newspaper article announcing the grant information for the next year. 

Ernie Kan suggested that picking up trash in our county would be a good topic for another article.

Beautification Awards

There are four suggestions for Beautification Awards
1. The Columbus Courthouse exterior wall.
2. The Town of Tryon streetscaping
3. “The Art of the Horse Project” by Our Carolina Foothills
4. The renovations at Missildine’s buildings in Tryon by Scott and Gayle Lane.

The next meeting of the Appearance Commission will be at 5:30 pm, Tuesday January 24, 2017.  The public is invited to attend the meetings held at the Visitors Center in Columbus. There are two spots open on the commission for new members.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:10pm.

Respectfully Submitted

Christine Mariotti