BEATRICE – Work was getting underway this week to beautify the Chief Standing Bear Trail in Beatrice, between two U.S. Highways.  The City of Beatrice and Keep Beatrice Beautiful are partnering with Exmark Manufacturing’s and its parent company, Toro Corporation’s charitable foundation on the project.

A more than $40,000 Land, Water, Thrive grant to Keep Beatrice Beautiful, from the Toro Foundation is helping pay for the plantings, being installed by public properties employees and Exmark volunteers.  

The trail connection has been in place for about a year, and the grant was received in October of last year.  But like many things, the landscaping work often fell victim to unusually wet, and not always cooperative weather.

Beatrice Public Properties Director Mark Pethoud says Colorado Blue Spruce, Flowering crab trees, oaks and other low-growing plants are being installed, from West Court Street, south to the Chief Standing Bear Trail Shelter, along South Sixth.  It’s a team effort between city workers and Exmark employees.

Grants from corporate partners help the city speed up progress on beautification projects.  Pethoud says without them, the city might not be able to do as extensive a project.

The plantings will be followed by grass seeding along the trail, with the hope that a nice green space is in place, in about a month.  In the new Beatrice City budget, officials are also beginning to set aside money to demolish the nearby Dempster Manufacturing plant, expected to further beautify the area in the future.