During Tuesday evening’s golden hour, dozens of volunteers gathered at the Armory in Marietta ready to work. Armed with shovels, gloves, and of course, masks, more than 35 volunteers pitched in to help mulch and tidy up the bump-out garden beds throughout downtown as part of Marietta Main Street’s Bump-Out Spiff Up event. Various organizations were represented, including the Marietta Cheerleaders, Marietta in Bloom, Teri Ann’s, and the MOV Multi-Cultural Festival, as well as members of the Marietta Main Street Board of Directors.

“Unfortunately, like many other event coordinators, we’ve had to make difficult decisions this year that resulted in the cancelation of our events,” said Executive Director Cristie Thomas. “That being said, this volunteer opportunity was outside and allowed for small groups of familiar folks to separate themselves physically across downtown.”

Hand sanitizer was made available, though Thomas said most volunteers brought their own gloves and tools and wore masks to keep themselves and others protected.

Typically, Marietta Main Street hosts volunteers regularly throughout the spring and summer months to maintain garden beds and care for the downtown flower baskets. “But this year,” said Thomas, “our community is lucky to have individuals committed to our community gardens who care for them without even asking. To those folks, we see you and we appreciate you tremendously.”

Over the course of a few hours, volunteers delivered mulch to downtown garden beds and bump-outs, pulled weeds, and spread mulch to cover the designated areas.

Our volunteers are a big driver of our successes and the success of our community.

“Teamwork makes the dream work,” said Thomas. “Our organization in particular operates solely because of the generosity of our volunteers who share their time and talents with us.” As a single-staffed organization, the mission of Marietta Main Street is carried out through numerous events, programs, and efforts, each focused on revitalizing downtown. “Our volunteers are a big driver of our successes and the success of our community. Even one hour of time can make a big difference, regardless of anyone’s age or ability.”

Thomas said she is grateful for the continued leadership of the Marietta Main Street Board of Directors. “Mary Segrest, board member and Chair of our Design Committee, coordinated last night’s event and managed it from start to finish. On top of that, her office – Edward Jones on Putnam Street – sponsored a free slice of pizza at The Original Pizza Place in gratitude to volunteers who shared a ‘pizz-a’ their time with us.”

She also thanked The Original Pizza Place, commending them for their support of volunteers, and Jack Haessley of Haessley Hardwood, for donating mulch to the community again this year.

“As kindness begets kindness, investment also begets investment. A community that cares enough to take care of its place sends a message that our town is worthy of that care and it inspires others to join in,” said Thomas.

Beautification plays an important role in increasing civic pride and contributes to the economic vitality of a community. “If folks travel to other towns, I’d bet that any individual can sense the ‘feeling’ of a town that’s cared for. Cared-for towns are welcoming and vibrant and hospitable. For downtowns, in particular those with strong volunteer and beautification programs, this care also translates to increased revenue for the businesses in that district. A cared-for place encourages folks to visit often, stay longer, linger more, and spend their money.”