VanCleave tours Little Rock, featured on TV show

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HELENA–Recently, Helena Beautification Board Chairman Chris VanCleave was appointed to take a trip to Little Rock, Ark. where he took a tour to see the revitalization efforts of the city and was also featured in a taped segment on P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home television program.

Chris VanCleave recently took a trip to Little Rock, Ark. and was featured on P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home television program. (Contributed)

Chris VanCleave recently took a trip to Little Rock, Ark. and was featured on P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home television program. (Contributed)

Only a few people were invited to the trip to Arkansas and VanCleave was one of them.

“This was a trip I went on that was not funded by the city and no tax payer dollars were used for this trip,” said VanCleave. “Our board is really committed to making a positive change in the city of Helena and if I can go somewhere and see what other municipalities are doing and gain knowledge to use for our city then it is a good situation all around.”

VanCleave said that beautification is a top priority in the city of Little Rock and they use a number of different methods to ensure that a beautiful, yet sustainable environment is achieved.

VanCleave met with the mayor of Little Rock and part of the walking tour included a stroll through the River Walk and Main Street districts where the city made it a priority to use many plants that are native to the area and VanCleave discussed the two main things he took away from the walking tour.

“Native plants can help improve oxygen flow and in areas where things are hard to grow, native plants are useful,” said VanCleave. “Also, planting flowers in mass is something Little Rock did and it has a visual impact on the city. That’s what we want for Helena. When people drive through Old Town we want it to have punches of wow and it becomes a place where people want to live or shop.”

As for the TV show segment, the show is based on Smith’s home and garden and VanCleave discussed the rose garden at Moss Mountain Farm. VanCleave has seen it evolve over time and also has a rose garden at his own home that he manages.

The segment featuring Smith and VanCleave is set to air sometime later this summer.

“I was honored to have been included in this tour to gain knowledge and insight into what other municipalities are doing to protect, preserve and beautify their cities and towns,” said VanCleave.