Nisqually Valley News (NVN) Editor/Publisher Michael Wagar published excerpts of the Yelm Business Association’s (YBA) Beautification Committee Draft Report last week with this pertinent statement:
“In past editorials the Nisqually Valley News has encouraged the city of Yelm to work with the fledgling Yelm Business Association. This past week the YBA released a draft report from its Beautification Committee to the Nisqually Valley News.
Committee members: Steve Craig, Chair, Anne Wahrmund (retiree & Yelm Planning Commission), Cameron Jayne (Director, Triad Theater), Paul Keesler, (Artist-Sculpture), Bob Droll (Landscape Architect),and Ron Thomas (Architect).
The following are highlights form the report that we believe deserve consideration by city administration and the Yelm City Council. Most important, we believe it is in all of our interests to have a vigorous, open debate on moving Yelm forward from, as the goal of the committee states, a drive-by city to a destination city. Yelm and its surrounding environs has (sic) so much to offer.”
The committee generally agreed that improved beautification of Yelm could contribute to it being perceived more as a “destination city” rather than a “drive by city.” Therefore, the goal of the committee is to foster development of a city image that is attractive, memorable, unique and leaves its citizens and visitors, alike, with a very positive impression.
The committee agreed that objectives specific to Yelm beautification need to be articulated and consistent with the overall goal. The following list of objectives was developed and intended to be a reference guide in identifying and prioritizing specific beautification projects.
Uniqueness: Play to the natural strengths and unique qualities of Yelm and surrounding area.
o Crossroads of pathways for Native Americans, pioneering settlers, and modern day travelers.
o Historical and modern day pathway to Mount Rainier.
• Memorable – creates and leaves a very positive impression.
• Regional – Yelm serves a large area of south Thurston County and that should be a major consideration.
Nature: Natural features in and around Yelm
o Improvements that incorporate natural elements that are unique to Yelm, such as: “Yelm Potatoes” (River Rocks), Oak Trees (Garryanna Oaks), Evergreen Trees (Fir), Prairie Grasses (note association with draught tolerant plants).
o Views of and path to Mount Rainier
o Close proximity of Nisqually River
o Surrounded by Prairie (Yelm, “Pride of the Prairie”)
o Close proximity to Mima Mounds
o Wild flowers (camas, etc.)
Healthy Life Style – Yelm has many attributes that relate to having a healthy life style.
o Bike/walking trails
o Regional athletic Facilities
o River rafting
o Skateboard park
o Food co-op (organic food)
o Fitness centers
o Alternative wellness
History – Yelm has a rich history that could be communicated and illustrated.
o Native American Tribes (Nisqually Tribe)
o Pioneers (Tell story in a tangible way)
o Mount Rainier Pioneers (P.B. Van Trump, James Longmire, Sierra Club founder John Muir, others)
Urban outdoor gathering spaces
o An outdoor living room (place that brings people together)
o A gathering place of Farmers Market
o A gathering place of community festivals and celebrations
o A starting/ending location for athletic and/or fund raising events
o Appealing to visitors/residents of all ages and physical abilities
o Close to residents
o Unique features to each pocket park
o Readily found and/or viewed by first time visitors to Yelm
o Located in various districts of the city
The Arts – Art and artists contribute to the beautification of Yelm
o Arts Community – Artist cooperative and possible art institute
o Art education
Possible action items/tasks:
• Art shows (fall and winter) and development of artist cooperative and possible art institute
• Develop attractive trail signage and initiate plans to beautify trailhead in Yelm.
• Initiate study to determine feasibility of Yelm’s old and abandoned water tower becoming an artistic focal point.
• Initiate feasibility/cost analysis of installing a fountain display in Mill Pond that would use recycled water to maintain a year around water level.
• Develop city entrance “gateways”
• Create murals based on approval by the city and participant business owners.
• Establish a “Yelm Walk of Fame” that celebrates outstanding contributions made over the years by the citizens of Yelm and the greater Yelm area.
• Solicit input from the community and other municipal and civic organizations (stakeholders) is critical to obtaining the broad consensus needed for the significant effort in time, talent and money that it’s going to take over time to help achieve the above including:
o Community workshops (informational meetings where attendees get to actively participate).
o Community design opportunities for the public to be involved in the design process.”Read
Click here to read the full YBA Beautification Committee Draft Report.