Mills takes pride in keeping Main Street beautiful

Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Jan Mills, of Concordia, stands behind one of the flower boxes she tended in 2018 along South Main Street in Concordia. The boxes are located in the 700 block of S. Main Street and, according to Mills, were originally put in place to help beautify the downtown corridor.
Alyssa Pfannkuch/The Concordian

When asked how long she has been caring for the flower boxes on the west side of the 700 block of Main Street in downtown Concordia, Jan Mills answered with a single word.

“Decades,” she said.

According to Mills, it all started years ago as part of a Community Betterment project.

“It was done to hide that vacant lot,” she added.

Mills has had a hand in keeping the flowers growing since then, even though there were others who assisted along the way.

“Several people and organizations have tried to take care of the boxes,” she said. “4-H did it for a while, and some others tried their hand at it. The problem is you can’t schedule gardening. When something needs to be done, it needs to be done right then. It’s not like you can say ‘We’re going to meet at 2 p.m. on Saturday.’ You have to be there when you are needed.”

Mills again took over the project three years ago. And she takes great pride in the work.

“It is such a visible area,” she said. “I love to do it. I love our downtown, and I take great pride in helping in its beautification. I occasionally have someone pay me a compliment, and that kind of makes it worthwhile.”

Mills said she likes meeting new people, as well.

“I get to meet the nice people who come into town,” she said. “I was working one day and a couple was waiting for their food to get down at the Chinese restaurant. The wife said she needed to get out of the car, and she came across the street and we had a nice conversation. I like to talk to people and find out why they came off the interstate at Concordia.”

Mills admits the project has its downside.

“The weather,” she said. “It can be too cold, or too hot and dry. There is no protection from the sun out there at the end of that vacant lot. You have to make sure to keep the flowers watered properly. It can sometimes be a struggle.”

Mills said she keeps vegetable gardens in raised beds in her yard at home.

Editor’s note: Be sure to check out our Home & Garden pages in this edition of The Concordian. More Home & Garden news will be published in the April 17 edition as well.

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