Despite losing nearly a third of its annual funding, Keep Brownwood Beautiful will continue normal operations but rely more on direct community support.
After the Brownwood City Council approve cutting the KBB’s annual funding from $17,500 to $12,000, KBB Director Cary Parrin said the cut is far from a death knell for the program and understands the council’s decision.
“It was a bit surprising. At first we thought, oh no they don’t think we’re doing a good job. As usual with Keep Brownwood Beautiful, we’ll make the most of it,” Parrin said. “We’re looking forward to doing our program as usual and doing some fundraising that we’ve been a bit lacks on … We’re going to keep taking care of the spots we have in the city. We have a memorandum of understanding with the city so everyone knows what their part is and that helps us out throughout the year.
“Everything that we do with Keep Brownwood Beautiful, we try to keep it pertinent to the city. Everyone wants to make it seem like; oh those mean city council people. No, they have a hard job. I understand the need for them to make cuts where they need to. That is when we have to step up, pull our socks up a bit higher and think, OK, how can we be a bit more creative?”
Keep Brownwood Beautiful has floral displays at the near the Brownwood Glass and Alignment on Main Street, Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza and near the former Hastings location at the intersection of Main Street and North Commerce. It recently expanded to providing Christmas lights and oversees a recycling program with drop-offs each first and third Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon at the Austin Avenue overpass, which has been in place for more than 10 years.
“We do a lot of litter pick up. If people see it, then they are more than happy to add to it,” Parrin said. “It has a huge impact on property values. Some studies have come out that show that when an area is heavily littered, it drops the property value down something around seven percent.”
In the wake of the funding cuts, she hopes to continue KBB’s strong relationship with the Greenleaf Cemetery, who works with the KBB for its Christmas Lights Trail, and the Brownwood Arts Council, who recently teamed with KBB for a mural contest with the winner receiving $500 and having their work displayed at the splashpad near East Elementary.
“We’ve been wanting to do it for years and it coincides with what the arts council is doing,” Parrin said. “With the drought, and concern about people watering too much, we wanted to make Brownwood pretty but not in a way that requires keeping plants and watering all of the time. We want to be an example to people. There are better things we can do. We’re excited about our mural contest. You can find out more about it on our website, but we’re offering a $500 prize. We were thinking, how can we make Brownwood look bright, shiny, interesting. I had a friend tell me years ago about driving around Brownwood that even the stop signs look sad. We care about our community.”
Those looking to donate to the KBB directly can do that via their website kbbtx.org, they can make a donation through their city of Brownwood water bill or even when shopping online through Amazon as part of Amazon’s Smile Program, which provides not-for-profits a percentage of the proceeds from any sale through Amazon.