Community Builder: St. Andrews Road gets a fresh look

Community Builder: Jacq Buck of Keep the Midlands Beautiful honored

IRMO, S.C. (WIS) - A heavily traveled road in Irmo now has a new look thanks to volunteers who recently came out and planted 40 trees and shrubs.

Keep the Midlands Beautiful says the aim of the project is to stop people from littering and illegal dumping, which will hopefully stimulate economic growth in the area.

“Yeah we are tree huggers and yes they are pretty, but they are good for business but they are actually good for humans,” explained Jake Moore, Irmo Arbor Day Chariman. "When we cut down all the trees and we don’t have anything to breathe, a dollar bill is not going to be doing anybody any good.”

The new backdrop to the St. Andrew’s Road corridor includes 40 magnolia trees and 50 kaleidescope abelias. Keep the Midlands Beautiful says it’s to improve the area’s overall appearance.

Jacq Buck is the Executive Director for Keep the Midlands Beautiful.

“We have done the same thing in the Martin Luther King Park in Owens Field in Riverfront," Buck said. "It’s one of those things that have been an absolute passion of mine, to do beautification projects, because it makes a huge difference. If you make an area look good there is less likely to be...illegal dumping and litter.”

The non-profit organization runs primarily off of volunteers and donations. They applied for and received a TD tree day grant of which only 18 were given nationally.

It’s a testament to the success Keep the Midlands Beautiful has had under Buck.

“If there is anybody in this community that deserves community builder, it’s Jacq Buck,” Moore said.

Matt Mungo surprised Buck as our latest Community Builder in partnership with Mungo Homes.

As a Community Builder, Buck gets $1,000 to donate to the charity of her choice.

“Jacq just inspires you to get involved in things,” Jo Counts, a board member of Keep the Midlands Beautiful, said. “Her passion, her drive for making life better...she draws you in and makes you get to work.”

While Buck has inspired many, she is stepping down from Keep the Midlands Beautiful and many people say she will be missed.

“That was one of the main things when I came on board, I wanted to start making it so that our neighborhoods -- whether it be rural or municipalities -- made it look like we care about each other as a neighborhood association, we care about each other as gateways into our communities," Buck said. "I think that has been, I hope, my legacy that I’ll be leaving behind.”

The Michael J. Mungo Foundation is spearheading the Lower Saluda Greenway District Initiative, so they were involved in facilitating site preparation and landscaping where the trees were planted on St. Andrews Road.

Keep the Midlands Beautiful is having its annual fundraising event in November. The 30th anniversary for the Gala for a Greener Midlands is Friday, Nov. 22. For ticket information or to donate a silent auction item, click or tap here.

To nominate a Community Builder, click or tap here.

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