LOVEWork at Mill Pond in Narrows
Be a Tourist in Your Own Backyard
LOVEWork at Mill Pond in Narrows
As shared by Jo Martin from the Narrows Now Community Coalition & seen in the 5/10/17 Virginian Leader.
Shown at the recent unveiling of the Virginia Tourism Corporation LOVEworks on the banks of Wolf Creek at the Mill (Duck) Pond in Narrows, VA are Narrows Public Works Director & Zoning Administrator James “Buddy” Kast; students that built the “LOVEduck” Felena Pack, Harley Huffman, Austin Waldron and (not present) Caitlyn Parsell; NNCC (Narrows Now Community Coalition) director Jo Martin, and Narrows councilman Jonathan Creger. Also attending were representatives of the Town of Narrows, Giles County, and residents of the Narrows community.
The LOVEworks program from VTC (VA Tourism Corporation) is a statewide branding initiative designed by VTC to promote family-friendly vacation experiences in Virginia and the Virginia is for Lovers message. This message has been the state slogan for more than 45 years. From the coast to the mountains, folks always find something to fall in love with in Virginia.
In an effort to continue promoting this message, VTC started a program in 2013 to encourage localities to build their own LOVEwork. Sixteen LOVEworks have been created in the state, and have become unique places, not only for local communities, but also for travelers. People are drawn to the LOVE letters and choose them as backdrops for special photos. The LOVEworks program is a great way for local communities to showcase their unique destination. Narrows Now Community Coalition applied, with sketch attached, and were awarded the grant in the Fall, 2016.
In a cooperative project with NNCC, the Town of Narrows, and Principal Bowles of Narrows High School, students Felena Pack, Harley Huffman, Austin Waldron and Caitlyn Parsell in Dennis Kidd’s NHS wood shop class adapted the NNCC sketch to a sustainable and secure design.
The officially named Mill Pond, better known as the Duck Pond, seemed perfect for placement of the logically nick-named LOVEduck. NNCC Director Martin states, “Slowly (like literally watching the oil paint dry!) the students produced the LOVEduck and the Town installed it. There are still finishing touches to be made, including a surrounding foundation.”
NNCC began as a nonprofit entity in 2012 with support of Narrows Town Council, in conjunction with the New River bridge replacement which runs through Narrows. NNCC members took on projects to make the downtown more welcoming. Included were plantings of many rose bushes next to the post office and crepe myrtles in the median of Rt.460, plus moving a business sign to a more appropriate placement.
When the new bridge was completed in November 2013, NNCC organized and guided Narrows Bridge Day Dedication & Celebration. At that same time, upon acceptance of NNCC applications, Narrows was also dedicated as an Appalachian Trail Community and as a GET (Great Eastern Trail) Town.
Sponsoring and overseeing creation of the huge “Mural of Narrows” on a prominent building on Rt. 61, the main thoroughfare, (which included Martin writing the contract between artist, building owner, and the Town) was a major NNCC project. The mural was dedicated on Bridge Day as well.
Other NNCC projects, involving local businesses owners, were the lightpole banners encouraging folks to “ENJOY NARROWS va…NATURALLY!”; refurbishing the sign at the Narrows Community Center (previously Narrows High School), and another cooperative effort with Narrows Cub Scouts to maintain downtown flowerbeds.