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Beautification efforts get big boost

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It’s not every day a local organization receives a major state grant to beautify their community. But that’s exactly what happened for Keep Argyle Beautiful, who won the coveted Governor’s Community Achievement Award for $110,000.

Competing with organizations across the state, Keep Argyle Beautiful’s volunteers had to prove their ongoing efforts to beautify the mostly rural community were worthy of recognition.

Deborah Cottle, one of the lead volunteers in the 7-year-old organization, was not expecting the telephone call informing her of the award. She, at first, thought it was one of those scam calls where a company claims a person has won something but then later asks for money.

“I was surprised,” she said, adding the organization had submitted paperwork for the grant for the past three years with the uncertain hope of winning.

“You’re in competition with all of the communities in that category,” Cottle said, adding that divisions are based on population. And, in Texas, there are quite a few smaller communities.

The third time was apparently the charm. And now that they have won, there’s a lot more work to do.

First, they have to learn specifics about the guidelines of the grant. Then, the group plans to work with the town and volunteer board to decide how to use the grant to best serve Argyle.

While no decisions have been made, ideas are swirling, Cottle said. “I’ve always wanted to re-create the train depot and have it as a museum.”

But that takes a bit more money than the grant provides, not to mention finding the land, getting approvals from all agencies from the town to the railroad and more.

Another idea is to create a monument as a welcome sign to those driving along the town’s major thoroughfares – Hwy 377, FM 407 and I-35W. The idea also would require approval from the town, the Texas Department of Transportation as well as a place to put it.

“There’s a lot of moving parts,” she said.

Keep Argyle Beautiful sponsors the Christmas Tree Lighting Festival for the Town of Argyle and has been involved in numerous projects ranging from cleanup of the Graham Argyle Cemetery to replacing the raised garden beds at Hilltop Elementary School.

Volunteers from Keep Argyle Beautiful and the Worship Without Walls team from Argyle United Methodist Church cleaned up the north and south Argyle gateway signs as well as the flower bed in front of Town Hall.

As part of Argyle’s Spring Clean-Up Day last year, residents disposed 1,814 gallons, 9 cubic yards, 1 pallet, 7 boxes, and two containers of household hazardous waste. Also collected were 76 tires, 2,060 pounds of shredding paper, 1.22 tons of scrap metal and 6,180 pounds of electronics.

This year’s Spring Clean-Up Day will be on Saturday, April 18, from 8-11am at Argyle Town Hall.

The list of projects goes on and on – from educational seminars at schools to educating residents and much more.

The award is proof that the Keep Argyle Beautiful volunteers and residents from other organizations have banded together to maintain the rural flavor of their community, Cottle said.

“We have a good team of volunteers,” she said, adding that anyone who wishes to become a part of Keep Argyle Beautiful is welcome to attend their meetings on the second Tuesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the community room at Argyle Town Hall. Call 940-464-7273 for more information.

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