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COVID-19 can’t stop the cleanup for Beautify the Bluegrass

Co-ops and Gov. Beshear partner to encourage, recognize homegrown beautification projects

For a fourth consecutive year, Kentucky Living and Kentucky’s electric cooperatives partnered with the Kentucky governor’s office to encourage and recognize homegrown beautification projects across the commonwealth through Beautify the Bluegrass.

To reflect safety concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Andy Beshear and Kentucky Living encour-aged simpler projects that could be accomplished while practicing social distancing. Kentuckians submitted dozens of projects for review by the governor.

“Congratulations and a sincere ‘thank you’ to every Kentuckian who participated in Beautify the Bluegrass,” says Beshear. “We are so grateful to all of these Kentuckians who came together to better their communities, while taking the nec-essary precautions to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Whether by innovating their business approaches or taking it upon themselves to clean up litter around their hometowns, each person and group featured today knows what it means to be a good neighbor. That’s the spirit of Team Kentucky at work.”

“This initiative echoes the com-munity commitment of local elec-tric co-ops all across Kentucky,” says Chris Perry, president of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives. “It’s inspiring to see the resilience of Kentucky and our co-ops during these challenging times.”

Beshear announced the Beautify the Bluegrass winners during Kentucky Living’s Best in Kentucky virtual awards show on August 27.

Leslie County Community Canoe Cleanup wins the Governor’s Award for clearing over 1,500 pounds of garbage from county water-ways. Photo: Kammy & Wyatt Ostrander


Leslie County Community
Canoe Cleanup

Led by Kammy and Wyatt Ostrander

When COVID-19 hit, Kammy and Wyatt Ostrander had to put a hold on their original plans for a community-wide waterway cleanup project. As some restrictions were loosened in June, however, they reorganized the event “social-distancing” style, and together with their community, removed nearly 60 tires and more than 1,500 pounds of garbage from their waterways.

“This was an incredible, inno-vative and safe community-wide effort to beautify their hometown,” Beshear says, “and it is an honor to recognize them for those efforts.”


Donors and Volunteers worked for four months in front of the Casey County Courthouse. Photo: Heather Cundiff

Doughboy Beautification project, Liberty

In a public vote from July 29 to August 5 on, Kentuckians chose the Doughboy Beautification project in Liberty as the winner of the 2020 Beautify the Bluegrass Commonwealth’s Award, also called the People’s Choice Award.

The World War I memorial is an iconic image in Liberty. For four months, donors and volunteers came together to beautify and improve the historic doughboy statue and surrounding areas in front of the Casey County Courthouse. By adding benches, planting new flowers, painting and a lot of TLC, the people of Casey County gave new life to this landmark.

“They’ve shown a lot of pride in their hometown and we look forward to seeing what other projects they will tackle in their future,” Beshear says.

The Cooperative Award goes to Cumberland Valley Electric for beautifying the area near the co-op’s drive-thru window. Photo: Rich Prewitt


Cumberland Valley Electric, Gray 

Electric cooperatives across Kentucky accomplished a variety of homegrown beautification projects, from cleaning up litter along the highway to sprucing up public parks and grounds. 

Co-op employees at Cumberland Valley Electric in Gray added a flower bed for co-op members to enjoy as they visit the cooperative’s drive-thru window. Co-op staff planted dozens of geraniums in several colors. 

“Geraniums are symbolic of class and dignity and are often used to decorate on Memorial Day,” says Rich Prewitt, the co-op’s economic development and marketing director. “A little appreciation to Gov. Beshear and certainly an everyday reminder of all the people who have suffered through this pandemic.” 

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